Animals of the rain forests are provided with a variety of habitats in the different layers of the forest trees. Some live at the top of the tallest trees while others live in the lower zones. 



Ocelot: Leopardus pardalis - Central and South America

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern


The ocelot, known in Mexico as the 'tigrillo' or 'little tiger', ranges through the forest regions of Central and South America from Texas in the north to Brazil and Paraguay in the south. It is the third largest of the South American cats after the jaguar and puma.

A fully grown male measures about four and a half feet from nose to tip of tail. Its beautiful spotted coat provides excellent camouflage in its forest home where it preys on a wide variety of animals, including small deer, agoutis, rats, peccaries, pacas, birds and some reptiles.

Sadly, it is much hunted by humans for its fur, and it is now seriously threatened. In areas where it is heavily hunted it has become a nocturnal animal, but elsewhere it can be seen in daylight. Although it can climb, the ocelot seems to hunt mainly on the forest floor.

Find out more about big cats in South America visit the South American Cats factsheet below.

Read More: Black Tree Kangaroo

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