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Wild Cats of Thailand

Indochinese Tiger

Science Name : Panthera tigris corbetti
General Characteristics : Reddish-orange coat with vertical black stripes along the flanks and shoulders that vary in size, length, and spacing. The underside of the limbs and belly, chest, throat, and muzzle are white or light. White is found above the eyes and extends to the cheeks. A white spot is present on the back of each ear. The dark lines about the eyes tend to be symmetrical, but the marks on each side of the face are often asymmetrical. The tail is reddish-orange and ringed with several dark bands. Male Indochinese tigers measure 2.55 to 2.85 metres in length, weigh 150 to 195 kilograms; the skull measures between 319 to 365 millimetres in length. The average male Indochinese tiger is approximately 2.74 m long and weighs about 180 kg. Large individuals can weigh well over 250 kg. Female Indochinese tigers measure 2.30 to 2.55 m in length, weigh 100 to 130 kg, with a skull length of 275 to 311 mm. The average female Indochinese tiger is approximately 2.44 m in length and weighs about 115 kg.
Habitat / Food : Indochinese tigers live in secluded forests in hilly to mountainous terrain, the majority of which lies along the borders between countries. Entrance to these areas is frequently restricted and as of late biologists have been granted limited permits for field surveys. For this reason, comparatively little is known about the status of these big cats in the wild. Mother tigers give birth to two or three cubs at a time. Indochinese tigers prey mainly on medium- and large-sized wild ungulates. Sambar deer, wild pigs, serow, and large bovids such as banteng and juvenile gaur comprise the majority of Indochinese tiger’s diet. However, in most of Southeast Asia large animal populations have been seriously depleted because of illegal hunting, resulting in the so-called “empty forest syndrome” – i.e. a forest that looks intact, but where most wildlife has been eliminated. Some species, such as the kouprey and Schomburgk's Deer, are extinct, and Eld's Deer, hog deer and wild water buffalo are present only in a few relict populations. In such habitats tigers are forced to subsist on smaller prey, such as muntjac deer, porcupines, macaques and hog badgers. Small prey by itself is barely sufficient to meet the energy requirements of a large carnivore such as the tiger, and is insufficient for tiger reproduction. This factor, in combination with direct tiger poaching for traditional Chinese medicine, is the main contributor in the collapse of the Indochinese tiger throughout its range.
Behavior / Mating : Tigers are solitary, the only long-term relationship is between a mother and her offspring. Tigers are most active at night, when their prey are most active, although they can be active at any time of the day. Tigers prefer to hunt in dense vegetation and along routes where they can move quietly. Tigers have tremendous leaping ability, being able to leap from 8 to 10 meters. Leaps of half that distance are more typical. Tigers are excellent swimmers and water doesn't usually act as a barrier to their movement. Tigers can easily cross rivers as wide as 6-8 km and have been known to cross a width of 29 km in the water. Tigers are also excellent climbers, using their retractable claws and powerful legs. Female tigers come into estrus every 3 to 9 weeks and are receptive for 3 to 6 days. They have a gestation period of about 103 days (from 96 to 111 days), after which they give birth to from 1 to 7 altricial cubs. Average litter sizes are 2 to 3 young. Newborn cubs are blind and helpless, weighing from 780 to 1600 g. The eyes do not open until 6 to 14 days after birth and the ears from 9 to 11 days after birth. The mother spends most of her time nursing the young during this vulnerable stage. Weaning occurs at 90 to 100 days old. Cubs start following their mother at about 2 months old and begin to take some solid food at that time. From 5 to 6 months old the cubs begin to take part in hunting expeditions. Cubs stay with their mother until they are 18 months to 3 years old. Young tigers do not reach sexual maturity until around 3 to 4 years of age for females and 4 to 5 years of age for males. Females care for and nurse their dependent young. Weaning occurs at 3 to 6 months, but cubs are dependent on their mother until they become proficient hunters themselves, when they reach 18 months to 3 years old. Young tigers must learn to stalk, attack, and kill prey from their mother. A mother caring for cubs must increase her killing rate by 50% in order to get enough nutrition to satisfy herself and her offspring. Male tigers do not provide parental care.Tigers usually live 8 to 10 years in the wild, although they can reach ages into their 20's.
Current Status : Classified as Endangered.

Fishing Cat

Science Name : Prionailurus viverrinus
General Characteristics : Fishing cats have olive-grey fur with dark spots arranged in horizontal streaks running along the length of the body. The underside is white, and the back of the ears are black with central white spots. There are a pair of dark stripes around the throat, and a number of black rings on the tail. Fishing cats have a stocky, muscular, build with medium to short legs, and a short tail of one half to one third the length of the rest of the animal. The face is elongated with a distinctly flat nose and ears set far back on the head. The toes are webbed, with claws that do not fully retract into their sheaths. An adult fishing cat is about twice the size of a domestic cat, with a head and body length that typically ranges from 57 to 78 centimeters, and a tail from 20 to 30 centimetres long. A few much larger individuals have been reported, of up to 115 centimetres in head-body length. Adult fishing cats weigh from 5 to 16 kilograms.
Habitat / Food : The Fishing Cat inhabits areas of forest, scrub, or grassland, including mangrove swamps, marshes, and terai environments. It is always found close to water, and is an enthusiastic and powerful swimmer. The inter-digital webs on its paws help the cat gain better traction in muddy environments and water, like other mammals living in semi-aquatic environments. As the name implies, fish is the main prey of this cat. They hunt along the edges of watercourses, grabbing prey from the water, and sometimes diving in to catch prey further from the banks. It also hunts other aquatic animals such as frogs, waterfowl, and crayfish, as well as terrestrial animals such as rodents, birds, snakes, and even chital fawns.
Behavior / Mating : The Fishing Cat is a solitary and primarily nocturnal animal. Like other small cats, it defends territory from neighbours, using urine-spraying and cheek-rubbing to leave scent marks that define their home range. Females have been reported to range over areas of 4 to 6 square kilometres, while males range over 16 to 22 square kilometres. Adults have been observed to make a "chuckling" sound and likely have other calls similar to those of domestic cats. Fishing cats may mate at any time of the year, although this is most common between January and February. The female constructs a den in a secluded area such as a dense thicket of reeds, and gives birth to two to three kittens after a gestation period of 63–70 days. The kittens weigh around 170 grams at birth, and are able to actively move around by the age of one month. They begin to play in water and to take solid food at about two months, but are not fully weaned for six months. Fishing cats reach the full adult size at around eight and a half months, acquire their adult canine teeth at eleven months, and are sexually mature at fifteen months. They live for up to ten years.
Current Status : Classified as Endangered.

Marbled Cat

Science Name : Pardofelis marmorata
General Characteristics : The physical appearance of marbled cats is often compared to that of their close relative, clouded leopards (seen in above video). They are close in size to house cats, but are longer and more slender. Young are mottled brown until they get their adult markings at about 4 months old. The fur is full and soft with widely variable markings. The base color is brownish yellow and the coat is covered in large blotches which are paler in their centers and outlined in black. Large broken blotches occur on the flanks and blackish lines occur on the head, neck, and back. These patterns tend to be smaller than in clouded leopards and they merge together resembling marble (hence the name marbled cat). Interrupted bands run from the corner of each eye over the head. The ears are short and rounded and are black with grey bars marking them. There is a white or buff spot on the back of each ear. The chin and upper lip are also white or buff in color. The tail is spotted and tipped with black, and about three quarters of the body length. Head and body length ranges from 45 to 61 cm. Height at shoulder averages 28 cm and tail length is 35 to 55 cm. Marbled cats have relatively large feet with very large heel pads. They have unmistakably large canines for cats of their size. The skull is high and rounded and wide. The eye socket is surrounded by a complete bony ring.
Habitat / Food : Marbled cats have been recorded in a variety of habitats from sea level to 3,000 meters. Habitats include mixed deciduous-evergreen forest, secondary forest, clearings, six-year-old logged forest, and rocky scrub. Most sources describe this species as primarily arboreal. However many records of marbled cats are single observations and habitat and distribution may be wider than currently recognized. Marbled cats prey primarily on birds and arboreal small mammals. Mammal prey includes tree squirrels, tree shrews, rats and mice, small primates, and fruit bats. Birds up to the size of pheasants are thought to be their primary prey. Other prey include lizards, frogs, and insects.
Behavior / Mating : Marbled cats are docile and said to be easily tamed. They are also characterized as very active, with great capacity for climbing and jumping. Their forefeet have webbed, flexible paws with heel pads twice as wide as they are long. They also have double-sheathed, retractable claws, making them well suited for climbing. Marbled cats have a bushy tail that is 35 to 54 cm long (75% or more of body length) and is ideal for balancing. Marbled cats are also comfortable on the ground. Behavior and morphology suggests that they are semi-arboreal. Marbled cats are solitary animals. Pairs form only for a period of time to allow breeding. Marbled cats give birth to 2 - 4 kittens. Estrus occurs monthly. Once pregnant, gestation lasts from 66 to 82 days in marbled cats. Kittens can eat solid food by 59 days of age. Kittens begin walking at around 15 days but increased awareness and athletic movement occurred after 65 days old. Before kittens jump and climb they rely completely on their mother’s protection as well as their cryptic mottled colors for hiding. Marbled cats become sexually mature at around the age of 2 years. Marbled cat females invest heavily in offspring through gestation and lactation, and engage in significant post-weaning care and teaching. Less than 100 g when born, kittens develop quickly and have a full set of teeth. A kitten's eyes will be fully opened by 16 days and it will be able to walk by about 22 days.
Current Status : Classified as Vulnerable.

Asian Golden Cat

Science Name : Pardofelis temminckii
General Characteristics : The Asian Golden Cat is heavily built, with a typical cat-like appearance. It has a head-body length of 66 to 105 centimetres, with a tail 40 to 57 centimetres long, and is 56 cm at the shoulder. The weight ranges from 9 to 16 kg, which is about two or three times the size of a domesticated cat. Uniform in color, but highly variable ranging from red to golden brown, dark brown to pale cinnamon, gray to black. Transitional forms among the different colorations also exist. It may be marked with spots and stripes. White and black lines run across the cheeks and up to the top of the head, while the ears are black with a central grey area.
Habitat / Food : Asian Golden cats live throughout Southeast Asia, ranging from Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh to Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Southern China to Malaysia and Sumatra. They prefer forest habitats interspersed with rocky areas, and are found in dry deciduous, subtropical evergreen and tropical rain forests.[5] Sometimes, they are found in more open terrain. In altitude, they range from the lowlands to over 3,000 metres in the Himalayas. They also occur in bamboo regrowth, scrub and degraded forest from the Mekong plains to at least 1,100 metres. They hunt birds, large rodents and reptiles, small ungulates such as muntjacs and young sambar deer. They are capable of bringing down prey much larger than themselves, such as domestic water buffalo calves.
Behavior / Mating : The Asian Golden Cat is a territorial and solitary species. The male's territory is about 47.7 km2 in size and increases more than 15% during the rainy season. The female's territory is about 32.6 km2 in size. They travel between only 55 metres to more than 9 kilometres in a day. Asian Golden cats can climb trees when necessary. Their vocalizations include hissing, spitting, meowing, purring, growling, and gurgling. Other methods of communication observed in captive Asian Golden cats include scent marking, urine spraying, raking trees and logs with claws, and rubbing of the head against various objects, much like a domestic cat.
Current Status : Classified as non-endangered.

Flat-headed Cat

Science Name : Prionailurus planiceps
General Characteristics : Flatheaded cats are about the size of a housecat, but are easily distinguished by their broad, flattened heads, small ears set well down on the sides of the skull, stumpy legs, and comparatively short tails. The width of the head seems to be increased by the large eyes. The thick, soft pelage is a reddish brown, tipped with white. This gives the look of a silvery-grey tinge to the coat. Two well-defined pale lines run from the eyes to the ears, and dark spots and stripes are sometimes described on the body. The underparts of this cat are white with brown spots. The inside of the limbs and underside of the tail are reddish-brown. The body is somewhat long for its size, the effect of which is enhanced by the shortness of the legs. The paws are long and narrow, and the tips of their claws remain partially visible, as they do not retract entirely. The toes are more fully webbed than those of the closely related fishing cat. Males are typically larger than females, and measure 42 cm to 50 cm long. Females are between 33 cm and 37 cm in length. The thickly-furred tails are approximately 15 cm to 20 cm long. P. planiceps stands about 30 cm in height and ranges in weight from 1.5 kg to 3 kg, with the females usually around the minimal weight of 1.5 kg.
Habitat / Food : Flatheaded cats spend much of their time close to water. They are found in wetlands and in floodplains in the tropical jungles of Thailand. Many reported sightings are near or on riverbanks, swampy areas, oxbow lakes, and riverine forests. This species has not been reported at elevations greater than 700 meters. The diet of P. planiceps appears to be primarily fish and sometimes frogs and shrimp. These cats have been known to like fruit, and prey on rodents in palm oil plantations. They sometimes also take chickens. They are reportedly occasionally destructive in gardens, where they dig up sweet potatoes and fruits.
Behavior / Mating : In the wild, flat-headed cats are solitary, and scent mark their territory. Unlike other cats, however, they spray urine by walking forward in a crouching position, leaving a trail on the ground, rather than directing it onto a vertical surface. They appear to have similar vocalisations to the Domestic Cat. Little is known about its wild behavior, but a gestation period of about 56 days, and a litter size of 1-2 kittens have been reported in captivity. Captive individuals have lived for fourteen years.
Current Status : Classified as Endangered.