Last week Caturday brought you the big Leopard. Now it's time for the little one.
The Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wildcat that can be found in southern and eastern parts of Asia. They are pretty widely distributed throughout Amur region, China, Indochina, the Indian Subcontinent, the Korean peninsula, and even Pakistan. There are twelve recognized subspecies of Leopard Cat, and they all vary quite strikingly in appearance, having different distribution and size of the spots on their coats, and in their general coat color.
The Leopard Cat is about the size of a domestic cat, weighing up to almost 9 lbs. and measuring 26 inches with a 12-inch tail. Their diet varies by the region, of course, but in general they primarily hunt rodents and other small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects. Leopard Cats are notable for not "playing" with their food, like many other species of cats. They attack with a quick pounce and bite, holding their prey firmly in their paws until it dies.
Most species of Leopard Cat are nocturnal and solitary, though some are more active during the day. Leopard Cats are hunted in various regions for their fur, especially in China, whose main market is Japan. The European Union has imposed a ban on the importing of fur from Leopard Cats. The IUCN considers Leopard Cats to be a species of Least Concern, although their population is declining.