The clouded leopard is named after the distinctive ‘clouds’ on its coat — ellipses partially edged in black, with the insides a darker colour than the pale yellow/brown background colour of the pelt. The clouded leopard, despite its name, is not closely related to the other Panthera cats. It is sufficiently distinct from other members of the Felidae family, due mainly to the unique shape of its skull, to be placed in a separate genus — Neofelis. And molecular studies suggest that the clouded lepoard appeared much earlier during evolution than the Panthera cats. The undersides and short, stout legs are usually spotted and the head and neck streaked with black/dark brown. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of clouded leopards is that, in proportion to their body size, they possess the largest canines of all the cats.
It is an extremely agile climber, aided by the balancing effect of its exceptionally long tail, often equivalent to the body length, and supple ankle joints. In captivity the clouded leopard has been observed hanging from overhanging branches by its rear legs. A survey team in Sabah and Sarawak, in 1986, concluded that it is not truly arboreal, but used trees in primary forest as daytime rest sites. It travels mostly on the ground they think, as movement on the ground is faster and more efficient.
The diet of the clouded leopard is thought to include a variety of arboreal and terrestrial vertebrates, such as orang utan, young sambar deer, barking deer, mouse deer, bearded pig, palm civet, gray leaf monkey, and porcupine. Fish, birds and poultry are sometimes taken. Although it is generally considered to be primarily nocturnal, it is sometimes also active during the daytime. The clouded leopard swims well and has been found on small offshore islands. Clouded leopards are believed to be solitary animals except during the breeding season.
Population size & trend
|Estimated population size:||less than 10,000|
Geographical range & habitat
The mainland cats, N. nebulosa, are the mainland cats ranging throughout Nepal, Bangladesh, eastern India through Indochina, northeastward to southern China and, formerly, in Taiwan.
The island cats, N. diardi, live in Sumatra and Borneo. Although population numbers are thought to be lower outside protected areas, their populations are probably healthiest in Borneo because there aren’t any tigers or leopards there. Surveys there suggest a density of one individual per 4 square kilometers.The clouded leopard is usually characterized as being most closely associated with primary evergreen tropical rainforest, but it also makes use of other types of habitat. Sightings have also been made in secondary and logged forest, as well as grassland and scrub. In Burma and Thailand, its presence has been reported from relatively open, dry tropical forest. The clouded leopard has also been recorded from mangrove forest in Borneo. In China, it apparently occurs in a variety of forest types, but there is no information on habitat preference or ecology across this large portion of its geographic range. It has been recorded in the Himalayan foothills up to 1450 m, and possibly as high as 3000 m.
|Head-body length:||69 – 94 cm (female); 81 – 108 (male)|
|Tail length:||55 – 91 cm|
|Female weight:||about 11 kg|
|Male weight:||about 19 kg|
|Age to maturity:||sexual maturity is reached by 20 – 30 months|
|Gestation period:||86 – 95 days|
|Birth rate||litter size 1 – 5 kittens, interbirth interval is thought to be 1 year|
|Life span:||up to 17 years (in captivity)|
Rare Bornean Clouded Leopards Caught On Camera In Malaysian Reserve
A Bornean clouded leopard and her two cubs were captured on camera (by photographer Michael Gordon) strolling through a Malaysian forest reserve last week — a rare daytime sighting. The female leopard and two young cubs were crossing a road and walked into the bush in the Deramakot Forest Reserve in Malaysia’s Sabah state, where the elusive cat was first sighted at night on camera traps in 2010.
Just enjoy some clouded leopards cubs playing and having fun!
Source: Clouded Leopard Project