Reporting an Ocelot Sighting

What to do if you see a dead ocelot.

Immediately contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at any of the following phone numbers:
(956) 784-7520 or 7608 - South Texas Refuge Complex Law Enforcement Dispatch

(956) 244 2019 - Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters

(956) 784-7500 - Santa Ana and Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters

(956) 748-3607- Hilary Swarts

Provide the following important information, including:

  • Your name and a phone number where you can be reached.
  • Location, time and type of sighting.
  • Identifying marks that confirm it was an ocelot and not a bobcat 
  • Directions on how to get to the location.
  • A detailed description of the area.  

If you find a dead ocelot: 
If you can, please stay with the carcass until FWS staff arrive. If you are not able to stay, please move the carcass so that it is not visible to passersby and FWS can retrieve. Be sure to let FWS know exactly where to find the carcass so they can retrieve it and collect important information such as internal tags and genetics.

Ocelot or Bobcat?
See the difference here


  • Small cat-like animal with distinct spots.
  • Long, ringed tail that is nearly one-third the length of its body.
  • Slightly rounded ears.
  • Prefers dense brush, where it hunts for birds, snakes and rodents. 
  • Endangered: ocelots used to be found from South Texas up into Arkansas and Louisiana. Today, there are less than 50 ocelots left in the U.S. and most are found in deep South Texas.


  • Light brown to gray coat. 
  • Might have spots on coat but they are more subtle. 
  • Short tail.
  • Tufted ears. More pointed than ocelot with a tuft of hair.
  • Larger than an ocelot. 
  • Found in various habitat types, including forest, coastal, wetlands, as well as near urban areas.
  • Common throughout the U.S.