Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Clouded Leopard

Clouded LeopardOne of the rarest and most beautiful big cats, clouded leopard is a unique animal. A medium sized cat, it has sufficient genetic diversity to classify into a species, unique from the leopard and Bornean clouded leopard. The cat, though, is not strictly included in big or small cats, owing to its inability to roar or purr respectively. Length is around three to four feet, weight approximately forty to fifty pounds, with males being generally bigger. It occurs in the wild exclusively in South East Asia.

The Clouded Leopard coat is generally tawny and is marked by a number of irregular shapes mimicking clouds, hence the name. The tail is nearly three feet long, at times as long as the body, and assists the cat in its acrobatic climbs up and down trees. Capable of moving over branches horizontally, hanging from them by its hind legs, and coming down tree trunks head first - clouded leopard is considered as one of the best tree climbers in all cats, a fact assisted by large paws and sharp claws that support grip on trees. In fact it spends most of its day time on trees, resting on branches.

Previously considered a nocturnal hunter, the Clouded Leopard is now seen in activity during day time as well. Prey is usually taken on the ground, though jumping at it from trees is a preferred tactic. Hunting is assisted by its long canine teeth, considered to be the longest proportional to body size in family felidae. In fact the long fangs have led many to compare the Clouded Leopard to the Saber toothed tiger! Prey is usually small to mid-sized animals including monkeys, birds, porcupines and deer.

Owing to its rarity and elusive nature, the Clouded Leopard has seldom been studied in the wild. Few animals have been successfully collared and monitored. As a result, very little is known about its behavior in nature, though it is generally considered a solitary cat that comes together for mating and perhaps raring of the young. Gestational period is around three months and on average a litter of three cubs is born. They are blind and helpless initially but become active in a month's time. Lifespan is nearly seventeen years in captivity and eleven years in the wild.

The beautiful Clouded Leopard is classified as a vulnerable species and strict embargoes are placed by CITES and the US government on the trade of live animals or its parts, allowing only the scientific study of these great cats. The bans though are poorly enforced in the native countries and this has led to a global Clouded Leopard population that is less than five hundred - much like Asiatic lions they face extinction unless greater protection of these cats and their habitat is enforced in the wild.

Breeding in captivity is quite difficult owing to the aggressive nature of male clouded leopards who frequently attack females when introduced to them. A new approach though, that employs grouping the animals together before they are one year of age, has proven to be more successful, raising some home for sustenance of this wonderful species of cats!

19 comments:

Dragonheart said...

Clouded leopards are very beautiful!

Sorry to hear you lost one of the kittens. :( I'm glad that the others are doing well. If you can find some kitten food to give Forest, that will provide her with some of the extra calories and nutrition she needs while nursing. :)

Catzee said...

That am a furry long tail fur a kitty. I's sorry one of the kittens wented to the Rainbow Bridge but happy the others are doin' so fine.

Christine and FAZ said...

Thank you for all the facts about clouded leopards and glad to hear Forest and her kittens are doing well now. FAZ

Daisy said...

The clouded leopard is very beautiful. I am sad that there are so few left. I hope they can make a comeback.

I am sorry that one of the babies had to go to the Bridge. Many times this means that something was wrong with the little baby.

Gemini said...

Oh those are quite bootiful. I should like to be a clouded leopard. Then I could really attack Cheysuli.

I'm glad to hear that the kittens are dong well. I LOVE Kits (Chey)

Caesar and Princess said...

The leopard is really beautiful! and that face... looks like a huge kitty!!

WE know there are a lot of things going on at your place. I hope everything works out with the kittens and your up coming move.
It s a shame that on of the babies died but it might have just been too weak. So sad, but that is like.

Have a lovely Thursday Omer

Chairman Mao said...

Wow, what kool stuff about the Clouded Leppard, they are such bee-yootiful bigkitties!

And I'm so sorry one of the ittybittykitties went to the Bridge. I'm sendin' mancat snuggles to the other four. I'm glad they're doin' good, and Forest and Snow, too!

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao!

Marilyn MonREOW said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that one of the little kittens went to the Rainbow Bridge. I'm glad the other four are doing well -- I send them all lots and lots of purrs.

Thank you for the information about the clouded leopards -- so fascinating, and they are such lovely big kitties!

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn!

Zoey and the furballs (the Zoo Crew) said...

I didn't know anything about the clouded leopards. They are very interesting and it's sad that the people in their native homeland aren't protecting them.

I'm sorry about the one little kitty passing, but am happy that the rest and their mommy and daddy are doing well.

Anonymous said...

there fashionable just like snow leopard and
i love their cloud spots

Anonymous said...

a small big cat but soooo cute!

sam said...

ya these are soooooo cute but indanger

sam said...

how do u become a member

snowforest said...

Thanks for dropping by Sam, and for your kind comments. It's not a forum per se, but you can subscribe for new updates to this blog at the top right of the page - by entering your email address or clicking the Feedburner icon.

Cheers!

Parag said...

Clouded Leopard's population in the wild is declining. This is a leopard fact that is common to almost all wildcats.

Anonymous said...

Parag is probably the only one that talks remote sense on this blog.He is the only one that treats these animals with the respact they deserve. A wild, endangered and even dangerous predator. The rest just treat it like a pet. Shows who really cares. Americans take these animals for granted.In africa we treat all wildlife like we should. Go to namdapha wnational park. Only park in the world where four big cat species exist, tiger , leopard, snow leopard and clouded leopard.

Anonymous said...

they are so adorable!!!

Anonymous said...

how are cats brain different from ours? i also like the color of its fur!

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