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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Clouded Leopard

Family : Felidae
Species : Neofelis nebulosa

Head-body length : 65-95 cm
Tail length : 55-80 cm
Weight : 15-23 kg

This beautiful wild cat inhabits lowland primary and secondary forest. It is mainly nocturnal in habits, but may be active during cooler parts of the day.

The species is arboreal but will often come to ground to make use of forest tracks or, in heavily logged forest, to cross from one forest patch to another.

Typically its base fur colour is a sandy, yellowish-brown but lighter and darker forms may occur. The body is patterned with a complex,  arrangement of irregular dark-bordered 'cloud' shapes which are larger along the flanks and smaller around the hind quarters. There is a series of thick, dark stripes on the back of the neck.

The Clouded Leopard is considered to be 'the smallest of the big cats' more closely related to
larger species such as the true Leopard and Tiger than smaller species, such as the Mainland Leopard Cat .

Its head is relatively small to its body size, though the incisors are large. The legs are relatively short and thick, and the tail is thick and long.

Its diet comprises other mammals including small deer and pigs, primates and other smaller mammals. They often ambush their prey by leaping down from tree branches.

Within Southeast Asia the Clouded Leopard occurs in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia. Outside the region it occurs in north-eastern India, including Nepal, and southern China.

A closely related species, the Sunda Clouded Leopard, occurs in Sumatra and Borneo.

Figs 1 and 2 : Trail camera images of a Clouded Leopard in mixed forest and grassland habitat, and active in the afternoon at Virachey National Park, Cambodia.  Photos thanks to Greg McCann.

References : M5

Links : HabitatID, Virachey National Park


Fig 1
ゥ  Greg McCann
Fig 1
ゥ  Greg McCann