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Leopard Cat - No ordinary cat

 

The Asian Leopard Catleopard cat is a small wild cat of Asiatic origin and one of the most beautiful felines in nature. They are also one of the most common and widely distributed felids. Size varies in accordance with the habitat. In the southern part of its range, they are nearly two feet long (including tail) whereas in the northern parts of the Amur region, it is longer (over three feet) and heavier (ten to fifteen pounds). The fur is quite variable as well. It is yellow in the southern populations, but silver-grey in the northern ones. Leopard cats bear black markings that may be dependent on the sub-species with either spots and rosettes.

 

Distributed is as far north as North Korea and the Amur basin and as far south as Bali, with their range extending towards Pakistan through northern India, the southern Himalaya, Bangladesh, Burma, and Indo-China. They are found on the Philippines, Borneo and Java and several island near Japan.

 

The habitat of this cat is forests, both subpolar coniferous forests as well as tropical rainforests. It lives close to water and may be found in the heights up to 9800 feet (3000m). The leopard cat can climb trees skillfully. It is able to swim, but will seldom do so.

 

Leopard cats are, like most felids, opportunists, and they will prey on hares, rodents, reptiles, moles, insects, amphibians, game birds, fish, mouse deer. Grass and eggs may also supplement their diets. They are known to raid poultry and to tackle aquatic prey in the water.

 

Primarily solitary, they often are seen together in mating seasons. After a gestational period nearing two and a half months a litter of two to four kittens is born. Mother rears them up and may place them in burrows and bush before they gain maturity and independence.

 

In recent years, mainly due to the high profile of conservation mAmur Leopard cateasures on 'Big Cat' fur trading, emphasis of trading has moved to the smaller wild cat species and they are under continued threat from hunting in many parts of its range. There is need for greater study of these beautiful cats in the wild. Leopard Cats have a vast range in Southeast Asia and their conservation status varies across it. It is believed though that they are vulnerable in certain islands. The cat is resistant to changes in its environment so the chief threat is not habitat destruction but hunting for commercial purposes!