This is a page on the clouded leopard for children and for people who like to read plain English.
The clouded leopard is a beautiful species of wild cat that lives in Southeast Asia. “Species” means a type or sort of wild cat that is different from the other 35 wild cats. There are actually two types (species) of clouded leopard. Experts, the people who know a lot about the wild cats, used to say there was one type of clouded leopard, but in about 2007 they changed their minds. The other clouded leopard is called the “Sunda Clouded Leopard“. It looks similar but it is different enough to be called a wild cat species on its own.
It looks like a miniature big cat and is the size of a small leopard. The cat weighs between 26 to 51 pounds (12 to 23 kilograms). This is about the same size as a medium-sized dog.
This cat has three main features. The tail is extremely long. This helps to keep the cat balanced when walking and climbing through trees, which it does a lot. Its coat is beautiful and the pattern looks like clouds. This is the reason for its name. It has extremely long canine teeth. They are so long they look like the teeth of the extinct Saber tooth tiger. “Canine teeth” are the long teeth at either side of the jaws at the front. The upper canine teeth can be longer than 4 centimeters.
The background color to the dark blotchy patterns are shades of brown, dark gray and a pale or bright yellowish brown. The cat has a very strong, square muzzle. “Muzzle” means the part of the face at the front – the nose, front part of the jaws, mouth and whisker pads. The face has dark spots and lines on the sides. The side and underside of the muzzle is white. The underside of the body is white or “tawny” colored. “Tawny” is a sort of dull brown.
The map in the picture shows you that it lives in quite a few countries in a part of the world that is called “Southeast Asia”. I have mentioned China and Myanmar in the map. This cat also lives in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. As you can see the cat does not live in every part of these countries. It lives in quite small areas within these countries. This is because places that are suitable for this cat to live in are not everywhere in these countries.
The Sunda clouded leopard lives on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. These are south of where the clouded leopard lives.
You can see the globe map full scale by clicking this if you like.
This is very much a forest loving cat. It is a secretive animal. But people believe that this cat likes to rest in trees in the daytime and perhaps hunt in trees too. It also hunts and moves around on the ground. Sometimes they live in mangrove swamps. They live in different sorts of forest.
The clouded leopard is one of the world’s most skillful tree climbers. Amongst all the wild cats the clouded leopard and the margay are the best climbers. This cat can climb down tress head first and slowly. It can also walk upside down under branches.
The cat feeds on a different sorts of prey. “Prey” is the animals that this cat hunts, kills and eats. The sort of prey it feeds on depends where the cat lives. For example, in India it hunts small deer. In Nepal a clouded leopard was caught eating a chicken in a chicken coop. In Borneo the Sunda clouded leopard may hunt a young sambar deer (see picture). Other animals the cat hunts are: monkeys, fish, porcupines and pigs.
We are not sure if the clouded leopard lives alone or in pairs. They probably live alone.
This cat makes the usual sounds that a cat makes such as meows, hisses, spits and growls. The experts think that they can’t purr. When near each other they make a sort of snorting sound. They also make a loud moan which can be heard from a long way away.
The female is pregnant for 85-109 days. Litters are from 1-5 kittens. This cat is grown up when 20-30 months old.
We don’t know. Because people are chopping down the forests where this cat lives they are losing their home. This prevents them from living. This means there are less and less clouded leopards in the world. People chop down the trees to make paper and furniture.