Karma Cats

  • CLOUDED LEOPARDS - Uncia unciaCLOUDED LEOPARDS - Neofelis nebulosa
  • CLOUDED LEOPARDS - Uncia unciaCLOUDED LEOPARDS - Neofelis nebulosa

CLOUDED LEOPARDS - Neofelis nebulosa

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Recently divided into two sub-species:

Neofelis nebulosa: Mainland South-East Asia
Neofelis diardi: Malay peninsular, Sumatra and Borneo.  Is also referred to as the Sunderland Clouded Leopard.



The Clouded Leopard is found south of the Himalaya in Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Assam; in Myanmar, southern China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand; peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.


Is also known as the mint leopard in China, as it is believed that the blotches on the coat resemble mint leaves.



Due to being such an elusive animal in the wild, exact numbers are not known, but it is believed there are less than 10,000 mature cats worldwide, with no more than 1,000 cats in any single population.






  • Much smaller than the African or Asian Leopard with a totally different coat
  • Large, dark, distinctive “cloud-shaped” markings on its fur. Each “cloud” is often partly outlined in black
  • The coat background colour can be earthy brown, dark grey, pale or rich yellowish brown
  • Undersides gradually shade to white or pale tawny with large black spots
  • Backs of the ears are black with a central greyish spot
  • Legs are short and solid and it has broad paws
  • Tail is extremely long and thick. It is nearly as long as its head and body and is used to help balance in the trees
  • The canine teeth are exceptionally long, being the longest of all big cats in comparison to their body size. Upper canines are 4 cm or longer, and have been likened to the teeth of the extinct sabre-toothed cats!
  • Black-coated or melanistic cats have been found only in Borneo


Head and body length: 813cm – 1080cm
Tail length: 716cm – 917cm
Weight:  11 – 20kgs


Life Span

Wild: Unknown
Captivity: 15 – 17 years



Nothing is known of the clouded leopard’s mating behaviour in the wild due to being so elusive. This has resulted in difficulties with captive breeding with the male often killing the female with a neck bite. The most successful captive breeding has been with a male and female raised together from a few weeks of age or with a male cub growing up with an adult female.



Between 85 and 109 days

Sexual maturity Between 20 and 30 months of age
Birth Little is known of the birthing cycle in the wild.  In captive breeding, the cycle ranges between 10 and 16 months

Litters of 1 to 5 (usually 2)
Between 140 and 280 grams at birth
Fur has large spots, like adults, but the spots are all black.
Open their eyes at 2 to 11 days
Have complete adult colouring by 6 months


Nurse until they are between 80 and 100 days
Can walk by 20 days and climb at 6 weeks
Begin solid food between 7 and 10 weeks


Diet & Hunting

  • Clouded Leopards feed on arboreal (tree dwelling) and terrestrial (land dwelling) prey such as birds, monkeys, orangutans, small deer, palm civet, porcupine, domestic stock including goats, pigs and poultry
  • Prey is killed by a bite to the back of the neck
  • Poultry is usually plucked and fur is licked off mammals, before consuming the meat


  • Primary forest, mangrove forests, dry woodlands, dense grasslands, coastal hardwood forests and coniferous forests
  • The Clouded Leopard spends a lot of time in the trees (hence the long tail and short, stocky legs)

Social System & Territories

  • As the Clouded Leopard is very elusive, very little is known about their social system
  • Range sizes vary (30 - 40 km2) with smaller core areas of 3 - 5 km2. Male and female ranges overlap
  • Scent marking includes scraping, urine spraying, head rubbing, and scratching logs
  • Vocalisations include mew, hiss, spit and growl. The clouded leopard can not purr like a small cat, or roar like a big cat. Rather than a true roar, they make a one to five second long moaning call that can be heard some distance away. They do however “chuff” or “prusten”, a vocalisation shared with tigers, snow leopards and jaguars.


  • Habitat destruction
  • Poaching of the cat’s prey
  • Poaching of the Clouded Leopard
  • Conflict with humans over live stock
  • Predators such as the Asiatic leopard and tiger
  • Full CITES (Appendix 1) protection
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