Mainland Leopard Cat
Species: Prionailurus bengalensis
Mainland Leopard Cat conservation status: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/18146/0
The Mainland Leopard Cat and the Sunda Leopard Cat used to be considered the same species, but “On the basis of recent molecular studies & clear morphological differences, the species was split into two species: the Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) inhabiting Mainland Asia from Pakistan to South East Asia, China, Russian Far East, Tsushima Island, Iriomote Island (Japan) and the Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) inhabiting Java, Bali, Borneo, Sumatra, Palawan, Negros, Cebu, Panay, Philippines and possibly the Malay Peninsula.”
On the surface however, the two wild cat species are remarkably similar:
The Mainland Leopard Cat is resembles a tiny, long-legged Leopard. It has a small shapely head and large rounded ears. Depending on where they live, their fur can be thinker or finer, or a little darker or lighter; but they all basically resemble miniaturized Leopards.
The Mainland Leopard Cat is the most widespread of all Asian small wild cats; it can be found across South and East Asia. While this species is generally solitary, it is also somewhat tolerant of human disturbance and can be found near rural human settlements and farms.
The Mainland Leopard Cat weighs from 1.6-8 kg (3.5-17.6 lbs). The Mainland Leopard Cat’s diet consists mainly of rodents. They can live 13 years and probably longer.
Note: Some unscrupulous breeders also use captive Mainland Leopard Cats to breed them with domestic cats in order to create the expensive “designer” cat breed, The Bengal. Many of the resultant offspring are sterile. It is cruel to keep a wild animal captive so one can profit off of its kittens.
The Iriomote Cat (a subspecies of the Mainland Leopard Cat)
Note: The Iriomote Cat, one of the Mainland Leopard Cat subspecies, is Critically Endangered. They are only found on the Japanese Island of Iriomote, where they live in subtropical evergreen forests and mangrove swamps. The Japanese government has launched a conservation program. The Iriomote Cat is the smallest habitat of any wild cat.
The Iriomote Cat weighs 3-5 kg (6-11 lbs). They look like tiny coffee colored Leopards with black spots and stripes. They can swim and are nocturnal. They eat birds, bugs, and small mammals. They live 13 years and probably longer.