They are Columbus Zoo’s precious 1-month-old clouded leopards kittens; their latest arrivals. Their coats are magnificent. The adult clouded leopard has one of the most outstanding coats of all the wild cat species. The fur is very easy to distinguish from other wild cat species because the markings are cloud-like, hence the name. FYI – young clouded leopard can kill a chicken at 80 days of age (Fellner K – 1965 and 1968 in studying zoo clouded leopards).
The noticeably square muzzle is very clear in this photo. This is reminiscent of the Maine Coon strangely. The background color of the fur in the picture is gray. It can vary between ‘earthy brown or dark gray to pale or rich yellowish brown, shading to white or pale tawny on the undersides…’
‘The fur is marked with large, elongated or squarish dark blotches on the sides, separated by areas of the paler ground color…’
‘The gestation period ranges from 85-109 days. Litters are one to five young…twins appear frequently. Newborns weigh from 140 to 280 grams (about 10 ounces).’ – Wild Cats Of The World by the Sunquists
Kittens begin to eat solids at 7-10 weeks of age. Suckling can continue to 100 days of age. There are records of clouded leopards living to 15-years-of-age and at Philadelphia Zoo a clouded leopard lived to seventeen.
Clouded leopards are arboreal cats. As their forest habitats are under threat from logging, their conservation status is fragile. Their beauty also makes them more vulnerable in a human dominated world (humans like to possess beautiful objects). Their long tail has evolved for balance.
P.S. I am against the idea of captive animals of all kinds. Zoos should not exist. I am not endorsing zoos in this article. But I do appreciate the beauty of the wild cats and visitors are interested in beautiful wild cat kittens. I hope they carry the message: leave then alone in the wild and stop destroying their homes.
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