By PAULA ISABEL PAULINO, age 9 and NYLU AVERY BERNSHTAYN, age 9

PHOTO: sometimesongFlickr
PHOTO: sometimesong/Flickr

Ocelots are an endangered species of wild cat that live in South America, Central America, parts of Mexico and even as far north as Texas. There are only about 50 left in Texas right now. They are often killed by cars or hunted for their beautiful fur.

An ocelot’s coat looks similar to a leopard’s or jaguar’s. They are about twice the size of house cats, and they live in rainforests and wild brush lands.

Ocelots are endangered due to loss of their natural habitat, mostly by deforestation, especially in Central America.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Ocelots are carnivores – they eat rabbits, rodents, iguanas, fish and frogs. They will also climb trees to catch monkeys and birds.
  • They are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night.
  • Their eyes have a special layer that enables them to see very well in the dark.
  • Ocelots have rough, black tongues, which help them to clean the meat off the bones of their prey.

Deforestation: the action or process of clearing of forests to make farmland, cities or ranches. This makes it hard for the species living there to hunt, find shelter and survive.