Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) – complete detail. Description of Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa). Classification of Clouded leopard. Habit and habitat of Clouded leopard.
They prefer evergreen tropical forest, but they have also been sighted in other habitats, such as secondary forest, logged forest, mangrove swamp, grassland, scrub land, dry tropical forest, and coastal hardwood forest.
Distribution of Clouded leopard. The weight of Clouded leopard is between 11 to 23 kg. Head to body length is between 65 to 110 cm, and the length of tail is between 60 to 95 cm.
They are excellent climbers, and they are able to descend trees head first and climb whilst upside down. The age of sexual maturity is between 22 to 28 months. Mating usually occurs between December to March.
Clouded leopard is a Schedule – I animal, according to wildlife (Protection) act, 1972 and classified as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN.
Clouded Leopard is a beautiful and colorful cat. It gets its name from the large cloud like spots on its body. The weight of Clouded leopard is between 11 to 23 kg. Head to body length is between 65 to 110 cm, and the length of tail is between 60 to 95 cm. They are about 50 to 60 cm high at the shoulder.
Clouded leopards are yellow-reddish-brown to yellow gray in color. Color of the fur is pale yellow to rich brown, with large irregular shaped rings that look like clouds. They also have broad black bands on their face. The muzzle is white and solid black spots mark the forehead and cheeks.
The underparts and legs are spotted, with large black ovals, and the back of its neck is conspicuously marked with two thick black bars.
The skull is long and narrow. There are black spots on the head. The tail is long and thick, with black ring markings.
Clouded leopards have the longest canine teeth relative to head and body size. The iris of the eye is usually brownish yellow or grayish green in color.
The nose pad is pink and sometimes has small black spots, and the ears are black with a buff spot on the outside and white on the inside.
Their legs are short and stout, with broad paws. They have rather short limbs compared to the other big cats, but their hind limbs are longer than their front limbs to allow for increased jumping and leaping capabilities.
Males are larger than females.
Common Name – Clouded leopard
Zoological Name – Neofelis nebulosa
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Mammalia
Order – Carnivora
Family – Felidae
Sub-family – Pantherinae
Genus – Neofelis
Conservational Status – Schedule – I, according to wildlife (Protection) act, 1972 and classified as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN.
They occur from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal and India to Myanmar, Bhutan, southern China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, and Bangladesh.
In India, they found in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.
Habit and habitat
They prefer evergreen tropical forest but they have also been sighted in other habitats, such as secondary forest, logged forest, mangrove swamp, grassland, scrub land, dry tropical forest, and coastal hardwood forest.
They are highly arboreal, using trees primarily for resting and also for hunting, but also spend a significant proportion of time on the ground.
They are excellent climbers and they are able to descend trees head first and climb whilst upside down. They can climb on horizontal branches with their back to the ground, and in this position make short jumps forward.
They live a solitary lifestyle in the wild, unless with a mate or with cubs and well adapted to forest life.
They have a wide range of vocalizations, including mewing, hissing, growling, moaning, and snorting. They also use long-call communication used over large distances, which could either be a type of mating call between different territories or a warning call to other cats encroaching on other territories.
Male leopards will mark their territories by spraying urine and head-rubbing on prominent objects. Males also have enlarged sebaceous glands in their cheeks, which they rub against objects to scent mark.
Clouded leopard is a carnivores animal. They feed on deer, wild boar, wild pigs, birds, monkeys, domestic livestock, and other small mammals. After making a kill and eating, they usually retreat to the trees to digest and rest.
The age of sexual maturity is between 22 to 28 months. Mating usually occurs between December to March.
The males tend to be very aggressive during sexual encounters and have been known to bite the female on the neck and the female responds with vocalization that encourages the male to continue.
The pair will meet and mate multiple times over the course of several days. After mating, male and female clouded leopards separate, and the male does not take part in the rearing of offspring. The gestation period is typically between 87 and 99 days.
Cubs 1 to 5, generally 2 or 3, Born with much darker side markings than the adults, but these spots are solid black until approximately six months of age.
They are very small and helpless and eyes are closed at the time of birth, and they can see within 10 days of birth. Cubs become independent at approximately 9 to 12 months of age. The average lifespan of Clouded leopard is 11 years.