The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wild cat of South and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as least concern by IUCN. It is widely distributed, but habitat loss and hunting occurs in places. There are twelve leopard cat subspecies, which differ widely in appearance.
|Leopard cat range|
The small cat is not closely related to the leopard. Its leopard-like spots gave it the name.
Leopard cats are the most widely distributed Asian small cats. Their range extends from the Russian Far East, Korea, China, Indochina, the Indian subcontinent, northern Pakistan, the Philippines and the Sunda islands of Indonesia.
They prefer forested habitats, but are found in agriculturally used areas. They live in tropical evergreen rainforests and plantations at sea level, and in subtropical deciduous and conifer forests in the foothills of the Himalayas above 1,000 m (3,300 ft).
In the northeast of their range they live close to rivers, valleys and in ravine forests, but avoid areas with more than 10 cm (3.9 in) of snowfall. They are rare in Pakistan’s dry treeless areas. In Afghanistan, they were reported in the 1970s from Jalalkot and Norgul in the Kunar Valley, and the Waygul forest of Dare Pech.
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