Are clouded leopards dangerous?

The clouded leopard weights about 18 kg (35 pounds) but it varies between 11 and 23 kg. So, they are quite large. Like a largish dog. They have the ability to bring down, kill and eat prey animals such as small deer, goats, pigs, monkeys and orangutans.

Clouded leopard
Clouded leopard. Photo in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There have been no reports of people being harmed or killed by a clouded leopard. I suspect they’d steer clear of any human they encountered. The human would be more dangerous to them than they’d be to the human.

Clouded leopard lap cat
Clouded leopard lap cat. Picture: in public domain.

I have never read a report of a clouded leopard attacking a person. The conclusion I can come to right away is that although the clouded leopard has the theoretical ability to harm a person they never do because they keep away as they perceive people as a danger to them when they are in the wild. In captivity they seem to be friendly.

Clouded leopard purring
Clouded leopard purring. Screenshot.

I have never heard of someone keeping a clouded leopard as a pet but I am sure there is someone somewhere who does.

They appear to be quite friendly as mentioned. You’ll see zookeepers getting close to clouded leopards. They purr and can be playful.

Clouded leopard nibbles Patrick Ayree's ear
Clouded leopard nibbles Patrick Ayree’s ear and climbs all over him in a sanctuary. The cat is female and about one year old. Very inquisitive. Photo: Sky One.

Perhaps the question is slightly irrelevant? I’m sure domestic dogs are far more dangerous that clouded leopards! There are millions of reported dog bites, some very nasty causing deaths, annually on the planet. There are no clouded leopard bites reported!

You don’t have to look far in books or on the Internet to understand how cruelly persecuted the clouded leopard has been and continues to be at the hands of humankind. The reason? It’s coat. Just like the ocelot. Another wild cat species with a beautiful coat that humans covet because they want to wear the coat on their backs and look glamorous. Horrible, isn’t it?

If the clouded leopard isn’t killed for its coat, their habitat is being taken from them because of extreme deforestation wherever they are found. I won’t go into huge detail because it is the same story pretty much everywhere for many wild cat species. Deforestation and persecution and other forms of human activity which drive these small wild cat species slowly to extinction in the wild unless humankind makes a U-turn on their behaviour which, as we must all realise, is highly unlikely.

Human persecution can drive a wild cat species to change their behaviour to avoid humans. This reinforces what I said above that they will tend to avoid people in the wild. But when they been captive and made friends with a person, they’ve shown a friendly character.


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