Clouded Leopard

Unique predator in the Asian rainforest

The clouded leopard is the most special animal in South East Asia. This species is the smallest of the big cats on the planet. The clouded leopard mainly hunts in trees, although it is also often seen on the ground.

This is one of the most beautiful predators in the world. When you see this animal you will be amazed at its beauty. You can only see this animal in Asia, and especially in Southeast Asia.

A clouded leopard is not very big; it can grow to a maximum of 105 centimeters. This is without its extremely long tail, which can be 85 centimeters long. The thick coat is brown in colour with large dark spots. The animal mainly lives at night, so it is rarely seen. You could be lucky though, because tourists occasionally see this animal during a night safari.

Little is known about the clouded leopard

Biologists are far from knowing everything about this predator. A lot of research is being done, but the animal is quite shy. Scientists have watched a clouded leopard climb a tree and wait for prey to get close enough. Then it is jumped and killed with the strong fangs in the neck.

Clouded leopards hunt in the rainforest for deer, various types of monkeys, but also birds, squirrels and pangolins. They actually eat whatever comes their way, clouded leopards are opportunistic hunters.

Various types of clouded leopards

It lives in huge parts of southern Asia, although the numbers are decreasing.  Little research has been done on the animals in China, but paw prints prove its presence. In 2007 scientists discovered a separate species of clouded leopard in Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia); the Bornean clouded leopard. 

Best places to see a clouded leopard