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Ocelot picture and information, Tiger cat (Felis pardalis)

Ocelot picture and information, Tiger cat (Felis pardalis)The brushy and forested areas of America from southern Texas and Sonora to Paraguay are inhabited by spotted cats of different species, varying from the size of a large house cat to that of a Canada lynx. Only one of these occurs in the United States.

All are characterized by long tails and a yellowish ground color, conspicuously marked by black spots, and on neck and back by short, longitudinal stripes - a color pattern that strongly suggests the leopard.

In the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas the tiger-cat is rather common, with the eyracat, in areas densely overgrown with thorny chaparral. Like most of the cat tribe, it is strictly nocturnal and by day lies well hidden in its brushy shelter. By night it wanders along trails over a considerable territory, seeking its prey.

Birds of all kinds, including domestic poultry, are captured on their roosts, and rabbits, wood rats, and mice of many kinds, as well as snakes and other reptiles, are on its list of game.

Its reptile-eating habit was revealed to me unexpectedly one day in the dense tropical forest of Chiapas. I was riding along a steep trail beside a shallow brush-grown ravine when a tiger-cat suddenly rushed up the trunk of a tree close by. I found it lying in the ravine by the body of a recently killed boa about 6 or 7 feet long. It had eaten the boa's head and neck when my approach interrupted the feast.

The tiger-cat is much more quiet and less fierce in disposition than most felines. The tiger-cat brings within our fauna an interesting touch of the tropics and its exuberance of animal life. It is found in so small a corner of our territory, however, that, despite its mainly inoffensive habits, it is certain to be crowded out in the near future by the increased occupation of its haunts.