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The Ocelot

( Originally Published 1851 )



One of the most beautiful of cats is the Ocelot. It is smaller than the leopard, being generally about three feet in length and eighteen inches in height. Upon a gray ground, slightly tinged with fawn, are marked longitudinal bands, of which the margins are perfectly black, and the central parts of a deeper fawn than the general ground. These margins of black, inclosing a deep fawn, become black lines and spots, on the neck, and head, and on the outer sides of the limbs. From the top of the head towards the shoulders there pass several diverging black bands; and on the top of the back, the line is quite continuous. The tail is spotted upon a ground like that of the body.

The ocelot in the garden of the Zoological Society of London, died during a late severe winter. The above portrait is from the specimen in the Tower, which is remarkable for the shortness of the tail. This animal was presented to the King of England by Sir Ralph Woodford, late governor of Trinidad. It is tolerable docile ; and does not seize its food with the violence which distinguishes nearly every other species of the cat tribe. This ocelot is usually fed upon rabbits and birds, upon which it principally preys in a state of nature.

The ocelot, in its native state is exceedingly ferocious, yet cowardly, and prefers blood to flesh ; in consequence of which its victims are numerous.

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