spicy kids

Houston Zoo announces birth of 2 charismatic ocelot cubs

Houston Zoo announces birth of 2 charismatic ocelot cubs

ocelots houston zoo wasabi sriracha
Squee alert: Meet Wasabi and Sriracha. Photo by Megan Woodall

Not long after the announcement of a bouncing baby elephant, named Teddy, the Houston Zoo reports the birth of two precocious wildcats. Two healthy ocelot cubs, Wasabi and Sriracha, were born on May 29 to mother Genoveve, according to the zoo.

Named for their spicy dispositions, the charismatic cubs mark the first ocelot births at the zoo in 20 years.  The zoo reports that Wasabi, the male, is often seen resting near his mom, while sister Sriracha is typically the first to interact with new things.

A quick wildcat lesson: Ocelots are a medium-sized cat with a long, ringed tail and slightly rounded ears — and spots. Adults weigh between 15 to 35 pounds, are about 30 to 40 inches in length with a tail up to 18 inches long, the zoo describes.

Their ability to turn their ankle joints allows them to deftly climb down trees, making them far different from most cat species (for example, jerky tabbies who climb up Houston oaks and require rescue).

Ocelots were once found across the United States, as far east as Louisiana and Arkansas, as well as South America. Here in the U.S., their total estimated population is between 50-80 ocelots, most of which are in Laguna Atascosa.

The zoo supports preservation of ocelots by protecting and replanting forests in Colombia to protect wild ocelot homes, according to a press release.