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The Secret Lives of Wild
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The Secret Lives of Wild Animals — Text-only | Flash Special Report
Ocelot and Agouti


Quick Facts
OCELOT
(Leopardus pardalis)

SIZE
Mature ocelots are 36 to 40 inches in length, 18 inches in height, and 20 to 40 pounds in weight. Females are smaller than males.

HABITAT and RANGE
Ocelots live in a variety of forested habitats found in Arizona, Texas, Mexico, Central America, and South America, including northern Argentina, Ecuador and Paraguay.

DIET
Ocelots feed on almost any prey they can overpower, including birds, small- to medium-sized mammals, monkeys, frogs, reptiles and rodents.

CHARACTERISTICS
Ocelots are largely nocturnal and generally solitary, except during mating and when females have cubs. They prefer dense cover and sleep mostly in shady thickets. Ocelots are good swimmers and live 12 to 15 years.


AGOUTI
(Dasyprocta punctata)

SIZE
Agoutis are about 18 inches long and weigh about 6 pounds.

HABITAT and RANGE
Agoutis are found in the forests of Central and South America and the West Indies.

DIET
Agoutis eat fruits, nuts, roots, seeds and leaves.

CHARACTERISTICS
Agoutis are generally solitary rodents, coming together only to breed. They are fast runners and good swimmers and are attracted to the sound of ripe fruits hitting the ground. They make burrows under rocks and trees, where they bury food when it is abundant. Agoutis are very important in seed dispersal, as some of the buried seeds are forgotten and germinate into new trees.

Images:
With the extinction of the jaguar in Central American jungles, ocelots have now become a primary predator of the rodent-like agouti.
Credit:
Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation