The Leopard Cat
Scientific Name: Prionailurus bengalensis
IUCN Status: Least Concern (Global), Vulnerable (Philippines), & Critically Endangered (Iriomotejima)
Weight: 1-15 pounds
The Leopard Cat has up to 12 subspecies, however, limited data suggests two highly variable subspecies on mainland Asia, divided into a northern subspecies , the Amur Leopard Cat in Russia and the Iriomote Cat found on the Iriomote Islands, with the Southern Leopard Cat occurring everywhere else on the mainland. The Iriomote cat was formerly classified as its own species, which is now considered invalid due to new found genetic evidence. The Leopard Cat varies on size and appearance depending on the region.
The Amur Leopard Cat is mainly found in some parts of Russia, Korea, and China. This subspecies is known to be the largest of the subspecies exceeding 15lbs. They tend to have a very pale ginger-grey to silver-grey in in winter with long, dense fur that moults to a darker, summer coat of russet-brown to grey-brown.
The Iriomote Cat is on the smaller scale compared to other subspecies, ranging from about 2lbs to 3lbs. They are very dark; some individuals are blackish grey with indistinct markings except on the face and underparts.
The Southern Leopard Cats size is usually between 3lbs to 6lbs. This subspecies tend to be richly coloured with yellow to tawny-brown or ginger-brown fur, and have bold markings varying from large solid dabs to rosettes and blotches with dark tawny edges or centres.
The Leopard Cats diet is made up primarily of very small prey, mainly small vertebrates. The most important prey category is made up of various mice and rats supplemented with other small mammals including squirrels, chipmunks, tree shrews, shrews, and moles. Larger mammals recorded in the diet include hares, langurs, lesser mouse deer, and wild boar, most of which were probably scavenged. Larger subspecies ttack neonate ungulates including Roe Deer, Sika, and Long-tailed Goral provided they are under a week old and when unguarded by their mother. They are also known to hunt and eat birds up to the size of pheasants, herptiles, and invertebrates.
Breeding in the wild is relatively poorly known, however, limited information suggests breeding occurs year-round but tends to be more seasonal in temperate areas, having up to 2 litters per year. Gestation is 60-70 days. Litter size 1-4 kittens, usually 2 to 3 in the wild.