The striking pattern of clouded leopard outdoes all other patterns, stripes, spots and shades. It can be better explained as marble blotches and hence, clouded leopard is sometimes called marbled cat. No one blotch is similar and the larger ones are more beautiful when compared to the smaller ones. Clouded animals are on the verge of extinction and the Endangered Species Act has been passed for them. Some states even say that it is illegal to keep them as pets and even in states where they are allowed, they come for a huge price.
There is major difference between weight of males and females. The males weigh up to sixty pounds where as the females weigh thirty pounds. Since the natural habitats of these animals are found on high altitudes, they have a long, thick and furry tail. They have the longest canine teeth among the cat family. The structure of the body in front is compressed and powerful. Clouded leopards have short but muscular legs with huge front paws.
Since the animal comes from the mountainous region, it is very found of climbing. Its cage should be built at least ten feet high and it would be even better if trees are provided within the captivity. Climbing trees and reaching great height is a must exercise for them to satisfy their psychological needs. But extra care must be taken when they are outdoors and on trees because if they escape they are very quick and difficult to catch. The cage can also be equipped with hanging toys, which they can leap to reach. Other than that other toys can be included.
Clouded leopards can be fed with fresh chicken, pigeons, chunks of beef, rabbits, rats and even with fresh blood. Before consuming the food it does a ritual which aids their digestion process. They have a very unique way of hunting it prey. The prey is killed first, after which the clouded leopard plays with the deceased prey for more than an hour. At the end, it eats its prey. And if a tree is provided in its living habitat, it will take its dead prey up the tree and eat it there. Clouded leopards can make up to forty sounds and have very good vocal chords. They mimic many birds and also monkeys in order to trick them and subsequently kill them. Other than the regular food they should also be given daily vitamins supplements and giblets. Their daily diet should comprise of at least one chicken, a rabbit and a rat.
Clouded leopards make partners for life and bonds very early in life. Unsuccessful attempts are made to breed them by introducing the pair to each other post adolescence which is too late. In order to be successful, the pair should be introduced very early so that they can take time to develop the comfort level and build love. The pair shouldn’t be separated till death, as that will affect both of them immensely. After the birth of the offspring, it can be kept with the mother for six weeks, after which it can be paired with the opposite sex for bonding. If the cub is separated earlier than that, it can be fed with bottled milk, which also helps to develop a relationship with the owner.
In zoos, too, these animals shouldn’t be exposed a lot to the public, which drags them into extreme stress and eventually untimely death. Also they shouldn’t be transferred frequently and separated from their partners after a certain age.