Ocelots are endangered animals in the United States, found primarily in South Texas. It’s always a big deal when these rare animals are spotted, particularly when that sighting occurs outside of their normal range, and especially when that ocelot is found hit by a car. That’s exactly what happened within the last week just outside of Palo Pinto, Texas, way up in North Texas!
The above photo shows a male ocelot that was found dead on Highway 180 just East of Palo Pinto. And although the cat may look strange to many of you, it’s even more odd that this animal was found this far north. Has this animal moved up from South Texas, where residents hold an annual Ocelot Festival, or was it simply an escaped or dumped animal from someone that illegally possessed it? The jury is still out.
The fur of the ocelot, with its dark brown irregular shaped spots and stripes, edged with black on a yellow background. The ocelot’s coloration varies with its habitat, but the base color is typically a light yellow or cream in more arid areas and darker brown in forested areas.
The ocelots hunting technique is varied and is carried out mostly by night – its prey includes small deer, rabbits, rodents, reptiles and when available, fish. The ocelot swims well and will hunt for birds in the lower branches of trees in its forested habitats. Male and female cats often share territories which can be up to 3 square miles in area, which makes the Palo Pinto County cat such an anomoly.