I had to sleep in because I went on a reading binge last night. I spent the last two days trying to track down the third book in a series I started years ago, and I finally found it available only as a .mobi file, for which I had to download a reading app. But it was so worth it!
The Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata) is a small felid that can be found in southern Asia. Genetic studies have shown that the Marbled Cat is closely related to the Asian Golden Cat and the Bay Cat, with which it shared a common ancestor about 9.4 million years ago.
Marbled Cats are similar in body size to domestic cats. They grow to be about 24 inches (62 cm) in body length, but unlike domestic cats they have a very long tail, about 22 inches (55 cm). Some Marbled Cats' tails are even longer than their bodies - the tails help them balance, as they spend much of their life in the trees. They weigh up to 11 pounds (5 Kg).
There are two recognized subspecies of Marbled Cat:
- Pardofelis marmorata marmorata (Sumatra, Borneo, Myanmar, and the Malay Peninsula)
- Pardofelis marmorata charltoni (Nepal, Sikkim, and Darjeeling)
Not much is known about the Marbled Cat's daily life, but radio-tracking studies show that they are mostly active during crepuscular and nocturnal times of the day. The bulk of their diet is made up of animals that live in the forest canopy, like squirrels and other rodents, birds, and reptiles.
Female Marbled Cats will give birth to a litter of kittens - the few Marbled Cats that have bred in captivity each gave birth to two. The gestation period can last up to 82 days. Little is known about how kittens are raised in the wild, but since Marbled Cats reach sexual maturity at about 22 months, it's likely that they stay with their mother until then.
Marbled Cats are considered Vulnerable by the IUCN because of low population density - no individual population exceeds 1,000 individuals, and it's unlikely that there are 10,000 left in total. They show up rarely in the illegal fur trade, but the main threat are the snares left indiscriminately in their habitats.