The rainforests of Southeast Asia are home to two species of wild cats called clouded leopards. In 1821, clouded leopards were recognized as a distinct species.

There was once a single species of clouded leopard believed to exist until 2006. Recent genetic and morphological studies, however, have shown two different species.

While cats from Borneo and Sumatra adopted the name Sunda clouded leopard, cats from mainland Asia and Taiwan retained the name of their native species, Neofelis nebulosa (Neofelis diardi). Although they can occasionally be found in secondary forests and dry woodlands, clouded leopards are typically found in lowland tropical rainforests.

The majority of a Clouded Leopard's life is spent in trees. They have been seen in the Himalayan ranges at altitudes as high as 2,700 metres (8,850 ft).

The tiniest large cats are elusive and reclusive in the wild, preferring to stay alone and out of sight. Clouded leopards are most closely linked to snow leopards since they belong to the same taxonomic subfamily, Pantherinae, as tigers, lions, jaguars, and legitimate leopard species.

Although nothing is known about the clouded leopard's lifetime in the wild, it has been reported that they can live up to 17 years in captivity.

Join us as we discuss a few fascinating facts about clouded leopards:-

1. Clouded Leopards Are Rather Smaller.

The clouded leopard, which comes in at number 10 on our list of the world's most numerous giant cat species, is regarded as a medium-sized cat.

Its size is comparable to other medium-sized cats like the Sunda clouded leopard and the Eurasian lynx and far smaller than the top three gigantic cats, the tiger, lion, and jaguar.

The clouded leopard can grow to a maximum length of 107 centimetres (3.51 feet), a maximum height of 70 centimetres (2.3 feet), and an average weight of 11.5 to 23 kg (23.35 – 50.7 lbs).

2. Clouded Leopards Are Polygynous.

The polygyny of the clouded leopard is the mating of one male cat with numerous female cats. Males leave after mating and don't stay to help raise cubs. One to five cubs can be born to clouded leopards during their three-month gestation period.

The first ten days are spent in blindness for clouded leopard cubs, and after around five weeks, their moms start teaching them how to hunt. A clouded leopard pup will separate from its mother at nine months to establish its independence and territory.

3. Clouded leopards have some of the most prominent teeth compared to their bodies.

These animals are small compared to other big cats, yet their bite is still dangerous. Because of its powerful jaw and fangs, it can take down prey much more thoroughly than it can. The upper canines of clouded leopards can grow up to 2 inches long and have 32 fully developed teeth.

Their canine teeth are considerably larger than those of a clouded leopard, around the size of a mature tiger. They can open their jaws to a remarkable 100 degrees and have unbelievably sharp teeth. Their teeth are pretty good at grabbing food and killing prey by biting the neck.

4. Clouded Leopards Aren't Able to Roar

Unlike other wild cats, clouded leopards actually cannot roar. The absence of a fully ossified hyoid bone also prevents them from purring. The hyoid bone sits in the back of the throat and provides the support needed for the tongue and larynx. This bone is what allows these cats to make specific vocalisations. Clouded leopards can still hiss and growl as a form of communication.

5. Clouded leopards are named after their coats.

Clouded leopards are easily identified by their fur, usually dark grey and covered in dark and black spots. They also have these black spots on their heads, as well as black ears. Their massive tails are also covered in these spots.

6. Clouded leopards exceed expectations at climbing.

The clouded leopard's capacity for climbing trees is one of its most noteworthy characteristics. Given that the majority of cats can readily climb trees, they are among the finest climbers among all cats, which is significant. They can hang on branches and climb trees with their backs on the ground. This ability relies heavily on their enormous tail, which they utilise to steer when perched on branches.

A fascinating detail about clouded leopards is that they don't appear to employ this talent for hunting; instead, they carry their food into a tree to have a leisurely meal.

On August 4 every year, every zoo and reservation in the globe observes International Clouded Leopard Day.

If you've never heard of this holiday, it was only first observed in 2018; hence, it is a relatively new custom.

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