Ocelot's courtship

   Deep in the heart of a forest in Paraguay, an ear-splitting caterwauling rends the spring night. The loud yowling comes from an ocelot, a distant cousin of the domestic cat but about twice its size. Prowling the forests and scrub-lands from Mexico to northern Argentina, these skilled hunters, climbers and swimmers are normally shy and retiring. But October is mating time for the southern populations, and the males court with midnight serenades.
   Ocelots usually communicate in other ways. A male has a territory that overlaps the ranges of up to three females. The animals live alone, but keep in touch by leaving scent marks of urine and droppings, and by rubbing against trees or rocks to release scent from body glands. A receptive female leaves a special odour, and the male gives voice when they mate at night.
   The kittens - usually one or two - are born three months later and are destined for lives of secrecy and stealth. They will sleep away their days in hollow trees, and spend their nights stalking small mammals, birds and snakes.