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Sumalee Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)
Sumalee is a female Clouded Leopard born on January 10, 2005. She weighs about 47 pounds. Sumalee was one of a pair of females that were donated to be part of an animal behavior research project. We are keeping our fingers crossed that a male will come to visit the girls.
Clouded leopards are native to South Eastern Asia and generally live in dense tropical forests up to a height of 7,000 feet. Almost nothing is known about the social behavior of Clouded Leopards. It is believed that they are solitary animals, except during mating season, and are mostly nocturnal. Clouded Leopards hunt from trees by jumping onto the back of their victim on the ground. Their prey consists of birds, squirrels, monkeys, deer, and wild pigs.
The Clouded Leopard is named for the cloud-like spots of its coat that provide camouflage in its forest habitat. Its coloring varies from gray, black, brown and white throughout, with distinctive black stripes, spots and blotches. The tail is long, bushy and ringed and tipped with black. Clouded Leopards have brownish-yellow or grayish-green eyes. Clouded Leopards can see about six times better than humans can in the dark.
In captivity, Clouded Leopards present a reproductive challenge. Unless they are introduced at a young age, there is a high incidence of aggression between males and females, which sometimes results in the death of the female. To date only about 20 percent of the captive population has reproduced.
Clouded Leopards are one of the best climbers in the cat family. They have very flexible ankle joints which enable them to climb down trees head first. They are also able to climb upside down underneath tree branches and hang from branches with their hind feet. Several adaptations allow Clouded Leopards to achieve these amazing skills. Their legs are short and stout, providing excellent leverage and a low center of gravity while climbing. Large paws with sharp claws allow them to gain a good grip on tree branches, and their long tail is extremely important as a balancing aid.
Clouded Leopards are critically endangered. Habitat destruction from agriculture and logging has fractured the cats' environment, making it difficult for related animals to disperse and for unrelated animals to meet and breed.
Clouded Leopard Statistics:
|Body Length||5.5 feet
tail up to 3 feet
|Gestation Period||86-93 Days|
|Litter Size||1-5 average|
|Life Span||17 years in captivity
Unknown in the wild