The clouded leopard is a wild cat that lives in dense forests from the Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia and South China. The first clouded leopard described in science was brought to London from China in the early nineteenth century. Deforestation, habitat loss, and poaching are the primary causes of the rapid decline in the number of clouded leopards in the wild. Clouded leopard fur is highly valued in the fashion industry. To make a single coat, 25 clouded leopards must be slaughtered.
The clouded leopard is a medium-sized feline. It can grow to be 36 inches long and 28 pounds in weight. The tail can grow to be 30 inches long.
The clouded leopard gets its name from its brightly colored fur. Cloud-shaped dark brown spots with a black outline cover the yellow, brown, or grey fur.
The color of the fur provides camouflage, and the clouded leopard blends in well with its surroundings.
Cloud leopards have the largest canines in the feline world (when compared to body size). They can grow to be 2 inches long.
Clouded leopards have short legs and strong paws with flexible joints, which they use to climb trees.
Clouded leopards, like other cats, have retractable claws (that can be pulled inside the paw). Clouded leopards keep their claws sharp by only exposing them when necessary.
The majority of a clouded leopard’s life is spent in trees. They are quick climbers, able to jump from one branch to the next in a fraction of a second (especially when they hunt the prey). The long tail is used to keep balance while climbing.
A carnivore, the clouded leopard (meat-eater). Its diet is determined by the habitat and the availability of prey.
Its diet includes rodents, monkeys, wild boars, squirrels, porcupines, birds, deer, and cattle.
The clouded leopard is a nocturnal (at night) animal that hunts its prey both on the ground and in the trees. Cloud leopard rests high in the trees after its meal.
Clouded leopards have a strong sense of territoriality. Territory sizes can range from 50 to 120 square miles.
The clouded leopard denotes its territory with urine and scratch marks on trees.
In the wild, the clouded leopard does not have a mating season. Clouded leopards mate in captivity from December to March.
Pregnancy lasts between 83 and 95 days and results in one to five cubs. Babies are born blind and weigh 5 to 6 ounces.
Young clouded leopards consume mother’s milk for the first 9 months of their lives, but they begin eating solid food (meat) as soon as they reach the age of 10 weeks. Sexual maturity occurs between the second and third years of life.
In captivity, the clouded leopard can live for up to 17 years. The wild life expectancy is unknown.