Home Safari – Ocelot Sihil – Cincinnati Zoo

Home Safari – Ocelot Sihil – Cincinnati Zoo


hi guys welcome to the Cincinnati Zoo of
Botanical Gardens home safari my name is Colleen and I’m here with Alicia and Mark
the humans and we have Sihil the Ocelot we’re part of the cat Ambassador Program
here at the Cincinnati Zoo so what better to bring you guys from Home
Safari today any one of our cats now today I’m here to tell you a little bit
about ocelots of Sihil and of course I will try to leave some time to answer
your questions so what we’re gonna do is we’re going to talk about
ocelots we’re going to talk a little bit about their natural history when they’re
adaptations then all sort of going to Sihil the individual will tell you a
little bit about her personality and their story here at the Cincinnati Zoo
and then of course the questions the first thing that you’ll notice when
you see Sihil is that she looks like a domestic cat but a lot of differences
I’m sure if you have domestic cat calls you’re gonna be able to pick out those
differences and similarities so while you’re watching this I want you to
really look at those things you don’t have that or not we’re gonna talk a
little bit about adaptations first now the Ocelot is a nocturnal predator she’s
a carnivore that is native to the rainforests of Central
America predominantly they have a pretty wide range though and then they can live
in brush out attack and even have a range that goes up as far as South Texas
here in the United States which is pretty cool to think about having these
guys native to of the United States pretty exotic looking cat now I
mentioned that they’re nocturnal so let’s talk a little bit about those
adaptations that she has that make her a really great nocturnal predator we know
nocturnal means that she’s out predominantly during the day and we know
that adaptations are things that you have on the body or you have the ability
to do that help you to survive in your environment so if you’re surviving in a
nighttime environment you’re going to need a few key adaptations as a predator
you’re gonna need really big eyes think of all of the nighttime predators that
you know you can remember things like cats or owls
they’re usually those big eyes because they’re taking in as much light as
possible to be able to take in all that moonlight so that they can see what
they’re hunting another great nocturnal adaptation that she has is those long
whiskers whiskers are a great adaptation that ocelots
and a lot of other animals especially cats have to be able to feel tiny
movements in their environment and to be able to figure out where they can
squeeze their body into without having to get stuck now lastly one thing I want
you to notice and this is probably where you’re going to tell the difference
between your pet at home your pet house cat and Sihil is that she has a pretty
awesome coat she has a darker colored coat that’s going to help her to blend
in to the night and she’s also going to
have a great pattern and that’s good camouflage a lot of different types of
animals have camouflage depending on where they live and what types of
surroundings that they need to blend into but your cat at home doesn’t really
need to blend in do they so they have lots of different colors stripes
patterns and variations whereas ocelots always going to look
like this with lots of spots to be able to help them to blend in and a dark
color that’s really gonna help them blend in at night now let’s talk about
her being an adaptive predator or Carnivore so being a carnivore means that
you eat meat and cats especially are just meat eaters they’re what we call
obligate carnivores which is just sort of a big word for they have to eat meat
in order to survive she has a lot of very cool adaptations that are gonna
help her to be a good hunter a good carnivore and a good predator she’s
showing off one of them right now and that’s her climbing abilities yes Sihil
here is 19 years old they have a lifespan that’s pretty similar to that
of an average house cat so being 19 years old and still climbing up that
pole was really impressive we’ll see if she’ll do it again in just
a little bit but that’s pretty hard for her she’s for a my age at this point but
what that’s gonna do is that ocelots adaptation to help them to be a good
hunter it is they can climb up trees looking for things that they’d want to
eat up in the tops of the canopies or they can climb a controlled climb down
like you are able to see her do just a minute ago that helps them to look down
at the rainforest floor she might as well now the wild ocelots eat primarily
rodents or small mammals but they’re not very picky eaters at all in fact they’ve
been seen eating birds they’ve been seen eating fish they
have been seen eating pretty much anything they can get their paws on in fact they do
have the ability to catch prey that is up to four times their size think of how
strong this path must be to be able to take down prey it’s four times her size
pretty strong know what you saw her playing with earlier that orange ball
that’s just one of her toys because she’s not spending all of her time
searching and searching and really having to work for hunting we want to
give her opportunities to play and to sort of problem-solve and be able to
figure out her environment in a way that we call enrichment now because she’s not
really having to struggle out in the wild doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need
her mind to have a lot of time to play and think and figure things out
so that’s why we give our animals enrichment every day because nobody
likes to be bored I’m sure you guys don’t and having toys and different
things to see and do is just as much important for our animals here at the
Cincinnati Zoo as it is for you guys all at home it’s always fun to have
something new to play with or something fun to figure out now this is a really
cool puzzle feeder that she has right here it has one of her favorite foods at
the zoo just frozen mouse remember she’s a carnivore so she could does have to
eat meat and frozen prey is just about her favorite thing but she’s going to
have to do something right now that she’s that was similar to what she would
have to do in a while now there’s not little suet feeders of frozen mice in
the wild of course but she would have to figure out how to get a mouse out of a
burrow maybe she would have to figure out how to get prey out of a old
decaying log she would have to use her brain a lot we call that cognitive
thinking but all that really means is that she has to use her brain to solve a
lot of problems she also has to figure out how to use our body
which is really fun for a person off of a camera to try to move around and
figure out exactly what Sihil’s gonna do next we talked a little bit about
Sihil’s adaptations or ocelots in general but I
wanted a view of seconds to talk about Sihil as an individual because she is
really fun she’s so fun to work with she’s part of our Cat Ambassador Program
and what that means is that she spends her entire life doing programming and
educational venues to be able to teach people without ocelots and about a lot
conservation she has a pretty unique backstory she
was actually a frozen embryo implanted into a surrogate ocelot mom which was really
important work that our CREW scientists do and she was the first wild or exotic
cat the first exotic cat to have a successful frozen embryo which is
actually how she gets her name Sihil means to be born again yeah yeah you
got that my mouse great job so to be born again is Mayan means that’s
what Sihil means and it’s because she was the first little stage of life and then
she was frozen and then became life again in her surrogate mother who lived
here at the zoo as well all right well I’m going to see if we have any questions
which we have a ton and I’m so glad you guys do because Sihil’s awesome
and we love answering questions about her so the first question I got is how
big will she get well she is 19 years old she is as big as she’ll ever get now
now that’s not to say that all ocelots are this size there is a subspecies of
ocelot called the Brazilian Ocelot and males of that subspecies can get about
two times this big Sihil’s subspecies is generic so this is about
their size but they can get up to about 30 pounds I also got that I also got the
fun another question that says how are they related to cheetahs well to be
completely honest they share the same family which is the cat family or
Felidae because their felines or felids but after that that’s really where a lot
of those similarities in genetics and as you can see similarities and adaptations
are gonna split off so they’re in the cat family
but not very much more related to cheetahs than that how fast can they run
now that’s a really good question especially for us because we also work
with cheetahs is in our department and I’ll tell you that
ocelots are really quick but they’re not nearly as fast as cheetahs we know that
cheetahs can run up to 70 miles per hour and they don’t know exactly how fast
ocelots can run but I’d say it’s around 25 to 30 miles per hour at their fastest
and that’s still a lot slower than cheetahs now Sihil has lived at the zoo her
entire life remember she was born at the zoo she was sort of created in our CREW
lab so that was one question how long has she lived at the zoo she’s lived at
the zoo in her entire life in fact all of our ambassadors were either born at
our zoo or born at another zoo and then raised here by us and will live there
their entire life and that’s something that’s really important for the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador department is that we’re making sure that
these animals have full quality care for their entire life all right I also have
another good question what is their closest relative but
they’re closely related to animals like margays it’s just been I thought
it’s uh almost twins very cool we’re all ready have any more questions
thank you guys so much for tuning in it’s so fun to be able to have you guys
tuned in remotely and be able to share our animals with us we’re here working
every day at this to make sure animals are giving quality
here you been through all of these weeks so being able to do not only take care
for animals but do what we love and share these animals with you guys is so
important and so fun and I really appreciate our entire zoo community
appreciates you guys tuning in and still supporting what we do in supporting our
animals as well it looks like we’re getting a few more questions coming in now that’s a really good question how
much food today now this is going to vary and it’s gonna be a little bit
different from ocelots that are gonna be hunting versus ocelots that are here in
our care and management if this isn’t a zoo at the Cincinnati Zoo probably maybe
3/4 of a pound of food a day now this is gonna be made up of raw meats prey fish
mice and sometimes other novel meat that is going to be really nutritious and
delicious for her but if they were to be hunting again they could probably have
these big meals if they were able to catch something really big and then sort
of not hunt for a while that’s just really dependent on how much they are
hunting and what types of things they’re hunting no your see her playing with
some of her toys right now and also rubbing on that’s something that cats do
you sure you seen your cats at home do it but animals at the zoo
do as well when they smell something that you like they’d love to rub on it
like she got called out doing anything so we got a question what’s the best
time of day to see her well if she were animal out in her native range you’d
have really probably never seen them they’re out at night they like being in
closed cover but if you’re at the zoo seeing Sihil is gonna be something
where you can only see her during programming time but there are other
ocelots that live at the zoo and they live in our night hunters building they
have special lighting in there that creates a dark a dark ambience in that
the animals that are nocturnal like Sihil remember that means out at night they
can feel comfortable to be out and exploring their habitat oh I got the
question who’s her favorite zookeeper I’m gonna have to say that
it’s Alicia I love working with Sihil to and I might be a close second but Alicia has
worked with her for 14 years 15 years and so being an 18 year old cat 19 year
old cat who’s having a really good time sent marking on her toy really rubbing on
it all the good stinks I think that Alicia is gonna have to win that
one that’s Alicia and then how many spots are on their coat on average that’s a fantastic question that I don’t have the answer to now count the spots no just kidding
their spots are really interesting her pattern is really a lot of different
types of spots to see she has nice close ones she has ones they’re a little more
with dots in the middle we call those rosettes
there’s a really beautiful spot patterns very similar to of Jaguars coat and then
she also has some spots that have molded into stripes on her tail and on her neck
and face so to be able to count all that and all the different ones will be
pretty hard two spots that I want to point out though are the white ones on
the backs of her ears that’s strategic those white spots are
going to be false eyes and there are also really great indicators to her ear
placement ear placement is a really great way to know how an animal is feeling if
you guys have pets at home or cats at home specifically I’m sure you’ve
noticed that if the ears are pressed back that’s a good indicator that
they’re not happy about something if their ears are holy for their alert and
really investigating their environment and if they’re sort of relaxed then that
means that they are well relaxed so having those white spots on the back of
the ear helped other animals to not only feel like they know the
communication that the animal is doing but also is going to act as a instead of
fake eyes so that other animals might be confused about what position this animal
is looking and that’s really great for camouflage and for hunting as well
we had another good question it’s two parts to framing first they want to know
how hard it is to train a large cat species and they also have an
eight-year-old at home that wants to become a really good house cat trainer
and what about you any tips for them absolutely so I’d say the treaty a big
cat or an exotic cat is a little bit difficult just because of the types of
animals they are it takes a lot of time and it takes a big commitment
knowing these animals and knowing their individual personalities as well as
their species personalities you can see Sihil right now rubbing on a perch where
birds have sat so that’s really funny smell about it and you can see she’s
really rubbing on that um so other than that though to be able to train cats is
really just the same basic principles of animal training in general if you guys
at home have worked on training with your dog we really use the exact same
types of techniques as far as positive reinforcement operant learning and doing
a lot of relationship building and desensitization as well now for anybody
at home that’s really wanting to work with training their house cats and their
dogs this is a great time to do it if you’re at home a little bit more than
usual because one of the biggest things to be able to have when you’re training
an animal is time and patience consistency is the other biggest part
and what I recommend that you do first and foremost before you start training
with your animal at home is to find out what is something really really positive
they can act as a reward reinforcement reinforcement or basically like a
payment for the types of behaviors you’re asking for now whether that be a
treat a toy some dogs like getting scratches as reinforcements or rewards
Sihil not so much she prefers the food as you guys saw earlier now those are
really great questions and I absolutely love it
all right well again I want to thank you guys so much for tuning in to the Cincinnati
Zoo and Botanical Gardens Home Safari we have loved sharing our ocelot with
Sihil has had me blast being out here smelling everything seeing everything
you know this might be fun for you guys at home but it’s super fun for our
animals to get out see new things and enjoy their new spaces as well this is
fun enrichment for them so we thank you guys for tuning in and having an
interest in tuning in because not only is it great for you guys at home it
helps us share our passions and it allows for our animals to have fun and
normal opportunities as well now I do want to say if you’re loving this we are
hoping to have three o’clock tomorrow is going to be mo the sloth so sloths
lovers out there mark your calendars set an alarm three o’clock log in and we’ll
have more animals for you on our Home Safari program thanks guys bye

100 Comments on “Home Safari – Ocelot Sihil – Cincinnati Zoo”

  1. She is so beautiful and so well trained by the staff.. I knew someone who had one as a pet..but I was afraid to pet it.

  2. OMG! I, of course, love her! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing her with us. And it's free. It's so thoughtful of you guys!

  3. You guys are doing and amazing job! Thank you so much for these videos! My boys look forward to them each day!

  4. "Looks like a domestic cat, but with a lot of differences"…I'll say; she looks a lot bigger than any domestic cat I've ever seen.

  5. Y'all need to invest in an external microphone. Sound quality on these videos has been super inconsistent. Camera person seems to keep putting their finger over the mic on the phone. A humble would be a good investment as well. 10/10 for the effort, 6/10 for the execution.

  6. If we ask questions on here about the next animal and if we don’t can someone tell me where to. Why are sloths so slow?

  7. Are you guys going to be able to do one of these home safari's with any larger animals? Bear, larger cats, or penguins?

  8. I love the Cincinnati Zoo doing this! I especially love the activities that we can do. I love learning about and seeing these animals in real life!🥰🦛🦔💕💓♥️💗

  9. Es hermoso todos sus animales siempre sanos y bellos igual que el personal del zoo mucha salud y buenos deceos para ustedes por alla en eeuu🍀🍀🇨🇱

  10. Thank y'all so much for doing these!! Everyone I know is watching and talking about your Home Safaris!! We love your zoo and can't wait til we can go again!!🖖

  11. LOL – after she went down the steps it looked like she scent marked the wall with urine. And then she marked the wooden structure with the scent glands in her cheeks.

  12. This came out on my sister Tessa’s 5th birthday she’s been watching the home safari and she really liked Fiona can Fiona Rico and Sihil wish her a happy birthday

  13. whats her favorite treat an does she like obstacle courses do you ever let her fish for her fish when she gets it

  14. Interesting that she prefers her mice frozen. I wonder if there’s a reason, or if it’s just a personal quirk.

    eta: She started life as a frozen embryo. There’s the reason!

  15. Spark the OCICAT says “hey she kind of looks like me!!!” Thank you for this video we are BIG fans of spotted cats and really enjoyed seeing your Ocelot. I hope you make a video with one of your Servals. We’re looking forward to visiting once things are back to normal. OCELOTS ARE AWSOME!!!!!

  16. Spark the Ocicat says “Hey, she looks a little like me!!” Great video we are big fans of the OCELOT and all spotty cats. Can’t wait to see more videos and hope to see one with one of your Servals! Can’t wait for the zoo to open again so we can visit and see the sand cats. OCELOTS are So AWSOME!!!

  17. FFS, This is the second video where the speaker seems to have little clue what they are talking about. Nocturnal does NOT mean "she is out predominantly during the day". This is as bad as your Porcupine video where you said the Brazilian Porcupine was from Southern South Africa.

  18. Great ambassador animal that represents her species well. Certainly doesn't look or act nineteen years old. Very healthy & active animal. Good job.

  19. She said that norturnal is when ocelot hunt at daytime, But norturnal means they hunt at nightime.The timeline is 2:01/19:46.Niyanah Grimes fifth grade newmilford

  20. My six year old daughter has wanted to be a zoo keeper since she was four. Thank you very much for doing these at this time, I really appreciate it and do hope you continue them.

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