Best Zoo Animal

Evita the Baby Ocelot

"Awwwwww, look at the little kitty cat!" Some variation of this exclamation is the universal reaction when anyone lays eyes for the first time on Evita, the Woodland Park Zoo's baby ocelot. The wee feline is a fluffy ball of cuteness, complete with gorgeous orange and black leopard stripes, glistening black eyes, and oversized ears that poke up from her tiny head like triangle-shaped tortilla chips. The word "adorable" doesn't do her justice. Soon she'll be all grown up, weighing about 30 pounds and measuring about four feet from nose to tail. But when she was born in January, tiny Evita - then viewable only by a den cam that the Zoo streamed online - looked like she could live comfortably in your apartment with little more than a tin of Fancy Feast, a litter box, and an industrial-strength scratching post to keep her occupied. In reality, ocelots are an endangered breed of nocturnal cats native to the rain forests and jungles of South and Central America. Then again, according to the zookeepers, ocelots are solitary animals that communicate by meows, so maybe Evita isn't so different from your housecat after all. KEEGAN HAMILTON 601 N. 59th Street, in the Tropical Rain Forest building exhibit. 548-2500,

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