Ocelots are excellent hunters and good swimmers. They feed on mice, rats, guinea pigs, monkeys, hares, small deer and, sometimes, poultry. Generally, they are solitary, except while breeding. They keep in contact with neighbours, however, and seem to maintain a network of social ties.
Excluding the long tail, ocelots range between 65 and 100 cm (25 to 39 in.) in length. Their average weight is about 14 kg (30 lb.).
Once a rather common animal in the forests and scrublands of southern United States, and Central and South America, the ocelot has been hunted extensively for its beautiful fur. The ocelot is considered endangered in the United States. The Central and South American populations are healthier, but population density is sparse. Currently the trapping of ocelots is prohibited, although illegal trade continues. The greatest threat to the population is habitat loss.