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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tucson, Arizona region Ocelot or Jaguar photo snapped by a hunter has researchers perplexed about which animal is in the picture...........Hind quarters of the animal was the only feature that the snapshot revealed.............Any guesses by you readers on Big Cat(Jaguar) versus litte cat(Ocelot)?

Did photo in Tucson capture tail of ocelot or jaguar?

Sept 22 photo(far right)from Arizona Game & Fish of either an Ocelot or Jaguar
comparison photos center and left of Jaguar and Ocelot tails for comparison

This is a series of photos of jaguar and ocelot tails — shown side by side for comparison. The photo arrangement was prepared by two biologists, Jeannette P. Hanby and J. David Bygott, both PhDs, who work as volunteers for the conservation group Sky Island Alliance. They prepared this using Google images.

Jaguars and ocelots are not common in the Arizona/Sonora region, but they aren't unknown, either. A jaguar was caught by a remote camera on April 8, 2011, on Rancho El Aribabi, a conservation ranch in northern Sonora lying about 30 miles south of the U.S.-Mexican border. Video courtesy of the Sky Island Alliance, a Tucson-based conservation group.

Arizona Game and Fish officials are analyzing a recent trail camera photo of either a jaguar or ocelot sighted southeast of Tucson. The photo was taken Sept. 23 and submitted by a sportsman. It includes only the tail and a small portion of a hind quarter of the animal, making positive identification more difficult, they say.
Game and Fish is consulting with outside experts about the photo to better identify the species.

Four of the last five confirmed jaguar sightings in Arizona have been reported by hunters.
Sportsmen also provided Game and Fish with two sets of trail camera photos of an ocelot in Tucson’s Huachuca Mountains last year.

Jaguars have been protected in the United States since 1997. Ocelots have been under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1982.

Jaguar Facts

Jaguars are the largest of America's big cats. They once roamed from the southern tip of Patagonia north to the region surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. Today significant numbers of jaguars are found only in remote regions of South and Central America—particularly in the Amazon basin.

These beautiful and powerful beasts were prominent in ancient Native American cultures. In some traditions the Jaguar God of the Night was the formidable lord of the underworld. The name jaguar is derived from the Native American word yaguar, which means "he who kills with one leap."


Unlike many other cats, jaguars do not avoid water; in fact, they are quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, turtles, or caimans—small, alligatorlike animals. Jaguars also eat larger animals such as deer, peccaries, capybaras, and tapirs. They sometimes climb trees to prepare an ambush, killing their prey with one powerful bite.

Most jaguars are tan or orange with distinctive black spots, dubbed "rosettes" because they are shaped like roses. Some jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection.

Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees.
Females have litters of one to four cubs, which are blind and helpless at birth. The mother stays with them and defends them fiercely from any animal that may approach—even their own father. Young jaguars learn to hunt by living with their mothers for two years or more.

Jaguars are still hunted for their attractive fur. Ranchers also kill them because the cats sometimes prey upon their livestock.


Interesting Facts about Ocelots

An ocelot is about 2.5-3 feet long and weigh about 8-10 kg. It is twice the size of a house cat. They have a 1-1.5 ft long tail. Their front paws are comparatively larger than the back paws. It has the lowest resting body temperature amongst all feline family members.

The coat of an ocelot can be of gray, cream or reddish brown color and it can have various patterns of black spots or rosettes, bands or stripes (developed due to merging of spots). Black bands are seen on the tail.

Ocelots have two black lines on either side of the face like leopards. They have single white spots, called ocelli, on the backs of the ears which help them intercommunicate with each other.

They are seen hunting in open areas at night but they prefer to live in dense forests and lands covered with grass. Ocelot habitat includes dense tropical forests, mangrove swamps, savanna, etc.

Fierce fights for determining the territories are common in these wild cats. As other cats, ocelots mark their territories by leaving behind the strong odor of pungent urine and feces.

Ocelot facts inform us that a male ocelot generally rules over a territory measuring 3.5 to 46 square kilometers while a female rules over a territory of about 0.8 to 15 square kilometers.

Ocelots are mostly nocturnal and prefer to live alone. You may refer to the article nocturnal animals list for more information. Males meet females only to mate. During day, they rest in trees and easily hide behind dense foliage.

They feed on small rabbits, reptiles, lizards, rodents, iguanas, etc. Along with small animals, ocelot diet also includes small monkeys and birds on trees.

They have very good night vision and they are very good hunters. They are sleek animals and are expert swimmers. So they eat turtles, frogs, crab and fish also. They tear their food with the help of sharp black teeth. They don't have teeth for chewing. They swallow everything they eat.

Animal facts and statistics have revealed the truth that thousands of ocelots were killed by human beings for their gorgeous dappled coat. So in many areas, they are now declared as endangered. In most of the countries, they are protected by law. The fur trade is now forbidden by law.

Female ocelots usually give birth to one kitten, once in every two years. Sometimes, more than one (up to four) kittens are born. A pregnant female finds out a cave in rocks or a hollow place in a tree or thick bushes, as a safe place for giving birth to kittens.

The gestation period is of about 80 days (one of the longest gestation period among small cats). The color of kittens appears dark at the time of birth and they have very thin hair on the coat. Their eyes remain closed up to fifteen to eighteen days after birth.

Mating can occur year round as female who loses a litter, becomes ready to mate again. Ocelots infant mortality rate is very high. The infants weigh about 250 g at the time of birth and they grow very slowly. Ocelots as zoo animals live up to twenty years.

Giving birth to only one kitten, small-sized kittens, infrequency of breeding, high infant mortality rate are some of the main causes of population loss of ocelots. Human beings are responsible for deforestation, habitat destruction and merciless hunting for furs of ocelots. I hope the above ocelot facts helped create some awareness about conservation of nature.

By Leena Palande;

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