Ocelot-cougar Hybrid

Ocelot-cougar Hybrid

by Michael

There is a nice reference in Wikipedia to a purported ocelot-cougar hybrid. This is the outcome of a wildcat to wildcat mating. This can happen but in my travels over the internet you only see it happen in an artificial environment. You see it with captive cats managed by people who either deliberately facilitate mating between two different wildcat species or it may happen by accident which apparently is the case in this instance. As far as I am aware different species of wildcat never interbreed.

The ocelot and cougar do inhabit the regions in central and south America so their paths might cross. But that does not mean they will mate – the opposite will usually occur. They will avoid each other or the ocelot will avoid the cougar as it is three times the size of the ocelot.

The best know wildcat to wildcat hybrid is the liger, a result of a lion and tiger mating.

The reference to the captive cougar and captive ocelot that mated comes from a publication called “Zoo Biology 12”. This is not Volume 12, Issue 1 of Zoo Biology available on Wiley Online Library.

The mating is said to have taken place on several occasions in a private zoo in French Guiana over the period 1989 (possibly) – 1992. On each occasion the hybrid offspring died through one cause or another.

However, one female cub was said to have survived. And it seems that we have a photograph of this wildcat hybrid.

I cannot reproduce the photograph here because it is copyright protected. You can go to another website to see it: cougar-ocelot hybrid picture.

The cat looks genuine but may be an example of clever photoshop editing. One oddity is the tight color around the wildcat’s neck. That is very odd indeed and its addition may be a piece of photo editing to cover a poor join between body and head. However, I am not saying it is an edited photo. I don’t know.

The body has irregular rosettes, pale in color, washed out. The undersides are white which is typical of wildcat pelage.

The head looks more like the head of a cougar but may have hybrid qualities. It is difficult to scale this alleged wild cat hybrid. It does, though, look the kind of size that a cougar-ocelot hybrid would be.

The cougar has 38 chromosomes and the ocelot has 36 chromosomes. This presents a barrier to a successful mating.

Both the serval and domestic cat have 38 chromosomes. The serval/domestic cat mating (with difficulty) results in the famous F1 Savannah cat. Thirty-eight chromosomes is the norm.

Another wildcat has 36 chromosomes: Geoffroy’s cat. There is a rare wildcat to domestic cat hybrid called the Safari cat. Clearly mating 36 chromosomes to 38 is workable.

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