The animal kingdom is so vast that sometimes we come across some species that we haven’t heard of before. Such is the case on this occasion with the clouded leopard, a little-known mammal but with great characteristics that define it.
If you want to know what the clouded leopard is like, its natural habitat, its diet or how it breeds, do not hesitate to see what we have prepared for you.
Features of Clouded Leopard
The clouded leopard, also known as the clouded leopard, long-leaved leopard or, by its scientific name, Neofelis nebula , is a mammal that is very similar to other felids. In China it is also called the leopard of the mind because the spots also resemble the leaves of the plant.
Reaches measure between 60 and 11 cm and weigh between 11 and 20 kg (female) or 65 kg (male). It is characterized by being an excellent climber, as it can climb trees with great speed and agility, using its tail to maintain balance. You should also know that its front legs are shorter than the back legs, which have retractable claws.
The fur of the clouded leopard has irregular dark spots with a brown interior, ideal for blending in with the environment where it lives. In fact, it is the spots that give it its name, as they look like colored clouds.
It has a narrow skull but is quite long, with ears that are erect, round and small, and eyes that range in color between green, yellow and brown.
Their life expectancy is not very high, as they are said to live around 17 years.
clouded leopard behavior
Regarding its behavior, the clouded leopard has nocturnal habits that prefers to climb trees and spends a lot of time lying on their branches, although it will do so if it has the opportunity to hunt.
It is also solitary, as it does not like to live in groups, which is why when it comes to breeding, it is more difficult for it to find a specimen to mate with. Furthermore, males are not only quite aggressive with other males, but they may attack and even kill females if they feel their territory is being threatened or they are not comfortable with hers.
Clouded Leopard Habitat
The clouded leopard is native to the Himalayan Mountains. It lives in that region and also in Southeast Asia, it can be found in Bhutan, China, India, Burma, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia etc. In fact, it is quite popular in that area, although there are currently very few specimens. In other areas, for example in Taiwan, it is already extinct, while in the rest small numbers remain.
Its natural habitat is based on forest cover, especially in tropical forests, evergreen or deciduous forests, but it is wide enough to be camouflaged. It does not like to be disturbed, which is why it chooses places that are rarely frequented by other animals or by humans (especially by this second). Furthermore, it is able to survive at 2.500–3.000 m above sea level.
He likes to climb trees, in fact, he loves height, so he usually spends a large part of the day resting on them, or he is even able to climb them to hunt animals .
Today, the clouded leopard is an animal considered “vulnerable” , meaning that it is not at risk of extinction, but has a good chance of becoming so. This is mainly due to the destruction of their natural habitat (more and more forests are being destroyed), but poaching also affects them. And it is that the clouded leopard is highly appreciated for its fur as well as its teeth and bones, which are said to have great commercial and medicinal value.
clouded leopard feeding
In fact, the feeding habits of this mammal are not well known. Previously, it was thought that they were hunters of terrestrial animals (especially hoofed animals (hog deer, slow loris, squirrels …)) but the truth is that the investigations that have been made of them deny this.
It is known to be able to eat terrestrial and arboreal prey, and focus only on the latter. This is due to its habit of living in height, a place where it not only rests, but also captures its victims.
Animals like primates, rodents, birds etc. There are few of them who are afraid to run into a hungry clouded leopard. And is that they are very fast and agile in the branches of trees, so escaping from one is quite complicated.
Clouded Leopard Breeding
As is the case with clouded leopard feeding, clouded leopard breeding is unknown to many. But, according to experts, sexual maturity will be reached between 20 and 30 months. That is, it will not be ready to reproduce until about 2-3 years of age.
Mating usually occurs at 26 months, after courtship that is quite striking as the male must “attract” the female. She will be successful only if she allows it to bite her neck without showing an aggressive reaction.
The estimated gestation is 90 days (specifically, between 80 and 93 days). And it can give birth to one to five pups, each weighing between 150 and 280 grams. These pups are completely dependent on the female as they are born blind and will remain blind for up to 10 days. As for their fur, they will be uniformly covered in dark spots, but as they grow they change and look more like their parents.
At five weeks, the cubs are able to move out with their mother and quickly learn her lifestyle.
After living with the mother for 10 months, the pups become independent, taking separate routes. This allows the female to produce a new litter. In fact, it can have one litter a year, although there are specimens that take longer to breed (it all depends on the situation in which they find themselves).
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