Clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), contrary to their name, are not actually leopards. They are, in fact, a completely different cat species and are an evolutionary link between the big cats and the little cats. Clouded leopards and snow leopards make up the cat group known as 'medium cats'.
Clouded leopards have tawny brown or tan coats, marked with irregular, cloudlike blotches (hence the name). They can grow up to a meter long from nose to rump, and weigh around 20kg. They have the longest canine teeth in proportion to their body size of any living cat. Clouded leopards also have long, flexible tails that aid in their balance.
Clouded leopards can be found in south-east Asia, the Himalayas, China and India. Another species of clouded leopard lives in Borneo and Sumatra. They are largely solitary, nocturnal animals but have been observed during the day.
Clouded leopards are superb climbers, and prefer to live in rainforest treetops. It has been known to run down tree-trunks headfirst. The preferred hunting style of the clouded leopard is actually to drop on their prey from the nearest tree.
Being carnivores, clouded leopards prefer to eat small to medium animals like macaques, deer and domestic livestock.
Clouded leopards reach sexual maturity at about two years of age. Female leopards bear one litter of 2-5 cubs each year after a 90-day gestation period. Captive breeding programs are incredibly difficult to establish because of the hostility of male clouded leopards.
Clouded leopards are currently classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. They are hunted for their unique pelts and their teeth and bones, for use in traditional medicine.