The Sunda Clouded Leopard
Species: Neofelis diardi (Sunda Clouded Leopard)
Sunda Clouded Leopard Conservation Status: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/136603/97212874
The Mainland Clouded Leopard and the Sunda Clouded Leopard are among the most elusive of all the big cats. They are named for the beautiful patches on their fur said to be shaped like clouds. While the Mainland Clouded Leopard and the Sunda Clouded Leopard are the smallest of the big cats, they also have the largest canine fangs relative to their body size. This means they have bigger fangs proportionally than any living cat- or of any other living carnivore. “They’re sometimes even called modern-day saber-toothed cats,” says wildlife biologist Andreas Wilting. http://www.livescience.com/11632-clouded-leopard-species-2-unique-types.html
The Mainland Clouded Leopard (denoted in green on the map) lives in Mainland Asia- from the Himalayan foothills all the way through Southeast Asia and into China. The Sunda Clouded Leopard, whose canines are even longer than the Mainland Clouded Leopard’s, lives only on two Indonesian islands: Sumatra and Borneo (denoted in red on the map.)
In 2006, the Sunda Clouded Leopard was classified as a separate species from the Mainland Clouded Leopard in mainland Southeast Asia. Its fur is darker with a smaller cloud pattern. DNA tests highlighted around 40 nucleotide differences between the two species. Lions and Leopards, for instance, have 56 nucleotide differences. http://wwf.panda.org/?95660/Borneos-clouded-leopard-identified-as-new-cat-species#sthash.emluSKue.dpuf
“Approximately 1.4 – 2.9 million years of isolated development have led to a degree of kinship between the Mainland Clouded Leopard and Sunda Clouded Leopard that is comparable to the kinship between Jaguar and Leopard.” http://www.catsg.org/index.php?id=225
The two species differ genetically much more so than they do in appearance. The two Clouded Leopard species do look very much alike, but the Sunda Clouded Leopard’s fur is darker with a smaller cloud pattern.
Mainland Clouded Leopards and Sunda Clouded Leopards are excellent climbers. Their ankles can rotate backwards which allow them to climb branches upside down, descend trees headfirst, and even hang from their hind feet. Mainland Clouded Leopards and Sunda Clouded Leopards have unusually short legs and extra long tails to help them navigate through the trees.
While the Mainland Clouded Leopard and the Sunda Clouded Leopard are highly arboreal, spending most of their time in the trees, they will also hunt on the ground. They eat monkeys, cattle, pigs, rodents, goats, deer, and porcupines. They’re nocturnal (active at night) and crepuscular (crepuscular refers to twilight creatures who are active at dawn and dusk) but recent studies have shown periods of activity during the day.
Sunda Clouded Leopards typically weigh about 11-25 kg (24-55 lbs) and are about 69-108 cm long (27-43 in). Their average lifespan is 11 years and they can live up to 17 years.