Clouded leopards belong to the family of cats, and they are considered the best climbers in their family. They are a member of the Felidae family and belong to the Nebulosa species.
Clouded leopards are included in the endangered species worldwide because their population is declining, and they are on the verge of extinction. Clouded leopards are shy and elusive and mostly spotted in the dense tropical rainforest.
They have powerful legs which help them climb quickly. Their long and strong tails help them during hunting and chasing their prey.
Where Do Clouded Leopards Live ?
Clouded leopards are mostly found in the regions of southeast Asia. They can be seen in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Assam (Region in India). They are also found in Sumatra, Borneo, Indochina, and from northeast to south China regions. Many people also reported having seen clouded leopards in Taiwan.
Clouded leopards like to live in the lowland of tropical rainforests. They also enjoy living in the regions like dry woodlands or mangrove swamps. Forests are the best place where you can find many clouded leopards.
You can also find them in the Himalayas, mostly 8000-9000 feet. If you don’t live in Southeast Asia, you might find clouded leopards in the zoo. They were recognized as a specie in 1820, and very little research has been conducted on their Habitat.
Clouded leopards are considered a separate species of cats and not just another type of leopard. Clouded means they are closely related to snow leopards and belong to the same taxonomic family. Their sub-family includes tigers, lions, jaguars, and true leopards.
Physical Appearance of Clouded Leopards
The word cloud in their name means they have a cloud-like pattern over their whole body. Clouded leopards have darker coat colors with small and dark-colored markings on them. If you look closely, you will observe that their fur is a mixture of yellow and brown, making their appearance darker.
Clouded leopards possess unique physical qualities like their subfamily of cats. They are different in appearance and physical strength than normal or wild cats.
Clouded leopards can easily hang themselves upside down from trees and any support. They have shorter limbs, sharp nails, and broader paws that help them chase and hunt their prey.
Clouded leopards have the longest tail of almost 65cm in their family of cats. They used this long tail to climb mountains, support, and balance themselves while hanging from a high place.
Clouded leopards do have big canine teeth, measuring up to 4 cm when it comes to teeth. They have strong jaws muscles, which help them hold things tighter for a long time.
|Common Name||Clouded Leopards|
|Weight||Up to 50-55 pounds|
|Average Life Span||15 years|
|Canine Teeth||4 cm|
|Scientific Name||Neofelis Nebulosa|
|Length of Tail||65 cm|
What Does Clouded Leopards Eat?
Clouded leopards have a diverse diet. They eat most of the animals they find in the same habitat. They are considered carnivores, and their favorite animal to eat and hunt are deer, pigs, monkeys, and other small animals.
Due to their ability to climb trees so fast, they usually feed on small birds and squirrels, which they find. They wait for their prey to approach them or come near them; they wait and attack and eat them.
They have a normal digestive system, and it takes time to digest the food they have eaten, so after a hunt, they will go back to their shelter, wait for some time, and then again go hunting.
Habits and Lifestyle of Clouded Leopards
Clouded leopards live alone, and they are considered to be solitary. They only live in packs or with family during breeding season or when they have cubs to feed. These animals are quite shy and rest high in trees during the whole day. They prefer to hunt at night when there is silence and dark.
The Clouded leopards are considered territorial and can move a little more than one mile a day. They mostly remain in their home range, and after hunting, they usually come back to their shelter for rest. Their home range is between 50 and 120 square miles, but it mostly depends on geographical location.
They are the very swift climber and easily chase their prey between the branches of the trees. They can also run through horizontal branches too fast. Their tail plays an important part in climbing or hanging from trees.
Clouded leopards can make a low snorting sound which is called Prusten. They usually use this noise when they have a friendly interaction with the other species. They also make moaning sounds, chuffle, hiss, or growl and meow sound like other cats.
Is Clouded Leopard being Considered Endangered Species?
IUCN recently placed clouded leopards on their red list due to the decline in their population. They are considered endangered, and authorities are trying to save their population by providing them with a safe environment.
1. Illegal Human Activities
Due to illegal human activities, clouded leopards are now becoming endangered. Humans conduct illegal activities and capture and hunt these animals without approval from authorities.
Some people also capture these innocent animals and sell their skin for money. All these are considered illegal and a major contributor who makes these animals endangered.
2. Loss of Vegetation due to Increasing Human Population
Loss of vegetation is another reason why clouded leopards are becoming endangered. Due to more infrastructure development and human settlement in different South Asian regions, it is now rare to see a clouded leopard.
3. Destruction of Ecosystem
One of the main problems South Asian regions face is the increasing population, which increases the chances of unnecessary human activities. This impacts the population of clouded leopards and their prey.
4. Trading of Pets
There is a lot of unemployment in South Asia, so it is common to find an illegal way to earn money. Many people are involved in the trading of pets, and clouded leopards are on their list.
Traders think clouded leopards are useful animals, and they trade or sell them in the market, making them an endangered species.
One of the main hurdles clouded leopards face is different types of fences and traps. Many leopards got caught in the traps and died due to starvation or an injury. This factor is also contributing to the declining population of clouded leopards.
Read Also: The 12 most endangered species in 2022: What you need to know
Clouded leopards are mostly found in South Asian Regions such as India, the Himalayas, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
These regions are located in South East Asia, where clouded leopards live. They are mostly found in rain forests and tropical regions where they can easily find their prey.
(PDF) Clouded leopard (researchgate.net)
Neofelis nebulosa (Clouded Leopard) (iucnredlist.org)