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THE LOVELY LEOPARD CAT (Prionailurus bengalensis)

THE LOVELY LEOPARD CAT (Prionailurus bengalensis)

The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wild cat in Hong Kong.

A leopard cat is similar in size to a domestic cat, but more muscular, with a smaller head marked with two prominent dark stripes, and a short and narrow white muzzle. They are very shy, and difficult to see. Some are active during the day, but most hunt at night, and are agile climbers and quite arboreal in their habits. They rest in trees, but also hide in dense thorny undergrowth on the ground. Leopard cats are solitary, except during breeding season.

The above images were taken through the glass at the mammal enclosure at Kadoorie farm. I do have images of wild animals, tho I could never get as close; wild Leopard cats photographed below...

Mostly hunting at night, these felines are agile climbers and quite arboreal in their habits. Leopard cat pelts are commercially traded from farm-bred cats and used in the fashion industry, and these lovely animals are sometimes kept as pets despite this being illegal. Breeders also keep these animals in captivity to interbreed with domestic cats to produce hybrid offspring called Bengal cats for the pet trade. Notoriously, a pair of hikers made international headlines several years back, when they confused it with the South China Tiger. These pretty felines lead solitary lives in secondary woodlands and rainforests. Their main threats include habitat loss and interbreeding with feral cats. SEE THEM: Look for them in trees at night, particularly in the hills above Sai Kung where I have seen them quite often. SPECIES ID: A leopard cat is slightly larger than a domestic cat but more slender, with longer legs. Its small head is marked with two prominent dark stripes with a narrow white muzzle, and the backs of its ears are black with white spots.


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