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Marbled Cat - Pardofelis marmorata

By: C.M.Shorter

Marbled Cats are extremely secretive and elusive. Rarely seen or photographed in the wild, they are thought to be the Old World counterpart to the South American Margay. Similar in size and vocalizations to that of a domestic cat, they have a very distinctive marbled coat markings resembling those of the Clouded Leopard. The Marbled Cat has a face sporting a well defined line stripe extending from the corner of each eye and jutting back over the forehead. Eyes are amber or golden in color and ears are small, rounded and have prominent white spots on the backs. Legs break the illustrious marbled pattern where they are instead speckled with an irregular shaped dark spot pattern. Face muzzle has three distinct lines on each side of the nose and they have a light grey to white underside. Coat is extremely thick and soft with substantial underfur and they have a very long thick tail, tipped in black.
Marbled Cat
Marbled Cat
Pictures of Marbled Cats

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Marbled Cats are mainly arboreal, relying on the treetop canopy for both shelter and food. In this regard, they are very dependent on the forest cover and suffer greatly from deforestation of their habitat. Range covers Asia, India through Sumatra, Borneo, Malaysia through Indochina. Blood serum analysis shows they are indeed related to the other big cats. Perhaps their size decreased is a way for nature to compensate, allowing them to coexist with the larger cats occupying this same territory such as the Clouded Leopard, Fishing Cat and Jungle Cat. Marbled Cats prefer prey that also occupies the treetop canopy such as squirrels, fruit bats, birds, mice and rats. They may also feed on fish, reptiles, frogs and insects.

This cat is protected in India and Thailand and, due to their secretive nature, they are not targeted for the Asian fur trade although pelts do occur in the illegal markets. Marbled Cats are seldom kept in captivity and are poor breeders in Zoos with offspring usually hand-reared. Destruction of their forest habitat throughout Southeast Asia is occurring at an alarming rate almost parallel to that of the habitat loss in the Amazon Rainforest basin. Still they are offered protection in only part of their range, dwindling populations have placed them on CITES Appendix I.

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Scientific Name: Pardofelis marmorata
Common Name(s): Marbled Cat
Range: Southeast Asia, Sumatra, Borneo, Malaysia, Nepal through Indochina
Average Weight: 4 - 8kg (9 - 18 lbs)
Length: 80 - 115 cm (32 - 36")
Diet: Carnivorous. Primarily arboreal feeding on squirrels, fruit bats, birds. They may also feed on mice and rats, fish, reptiles, frogs and insects.
Gestation Period: 80 - 82 Days
Cub Maturity: 6 - 8 Months
Cubs Per Litter: 1 - 4 Kittens
Lifespan: 8 - 10 years. Recorded to have lived 12 years in captivity.
Predators: Man. Major threats - deforestation, loss of habitat.
Social Structure: Solitary
Territory Size: 15-20km (8-11 miles)
Conservation Status: Placed on CITES Appendix I.

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