The Clouded Leopard is a medium sized wild cat that is native to Asia, the clouded leopard is not as rare as it is secretive, which makes it difficult to know a great deal about their habits in the wild.
Much of our understanding of this cat’s natural history and behavior is a result of observations of them in captivity.
Clouded leopards are a member of the Pantherinae that also includes lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, and snow leopards.
Clouded leopards are not a “type" of leopard as their name seems to say, but instead they are a separate species, like the leopard and snow leopard.
Their legs are short and thick and provide wonderful leverage and a very low center of gravity which helps them to climb.
Large paws with sharp claws allow them to gain a good grip on tree branches. A clouded leopard’s tail can be up to 3 feet long and is very important for their balance.
The hind feet have flexible ankle joints that allow the foot to rotate. This allows clouded leopards to climb down from a tree head first.
Clouded Leopard Close Up
Another unique feature of the clouded leopard is its long canine teeth. These canines are longer than those of any other species of wild cat.
Clouded leopards usually live in lowland tropical rainforest habitats, but can also be found in dry woodlands and secondary forests. They have also been seen visiting the foothills of the Himalayas at an elevation of 9000 feet.
Clouded leopards are carnivores. They are thought to hunt a variety of prey including birds, squirrels, monkeys, deer, and wild pigs.
Virtually nothing is known of the wild social behavior of clouded leopards.
“They are likely solitary, like most cats, unless associated with a mate while breeding or accompanied by cubs. Clouded leopards were once thought to be exclusively nocturnal; evidence suggests that clouded leopards may show some periods of activity during the day as well."
Mating can occur in any month, but in captivity most breeding occurs between December and March.
Clouded Leopard at Night
The gestation period is between 85 and 93 days with 1 to 5 cubs produced per litter. Cubs are independent at approximately 10 months of age. Females can produce a litter every year.