May 1, 2012

Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

Did you know?

That the Clouded Leopard has the largest canine teeth relative to body size of any of the cat family? The jaws of a Clouded Leopard can open more than any other cat and the development of the teeth is more like that of the extinct saber-toothed tiger, with canine teeth up to 5 cm long.

The Clouded Leopard named as such because their fur stains provide camouflage in its forest habitat. It is the most arboreal of all species of big cats and is one of the best climbers in the cat family. The Panthers nebulae are able to climb upside down underneath tree branches and hang from the branches with their hind legs. Several adaptations allow them to achieve tree capabilities: short and stout legs provide excellent momentum and a low center of gravity while climbing. Large feet with sharp claws let them get a good grip on the branches of trees. The long tail is very important to help balance. The hind legs have flexible joints in the ankles that allow the foot to rotate greatly. This adaptation allows clouded leopards to descend, like a squirrel, head of a tree.

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