Leopard Cat - No ordinary cat
The leopard 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 measures
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