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Every Day is Play Day for Clouded Leopard Cubs


Two Clouded Leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute on February 6 have three goals:  to play, play, and play some more!

At two-and-a-half months old, the cubs are growing fast and becoming more adventurous.  Recently, as a zoo keeper cleaned their enclosure, the cubs decided to play in the water spraying from the hose.  This was the first time the cubs experienced getting wet – but as you can see from the photos, they didn’t seem to mind at all.




Photo Credits:  Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo

The cubs, a male and a female, recently had a routine veterinary check-up and were proclaimed healthy and strong.  You can see their baby photos here, here, and here.

These two cubs are genetically valuable to the zoo population of Clouded Leopards.  The cubs’ parents, Jao Chu and Hannibal, were born in Thailand and came to the Smithsonian as part of a collaborative research program. 

See more playful photos and read more below the fold.




Little is known about Clouded Leopards. They are native to Southeast Asia and parts of China in a habitat that ranges from dense tropical evergreen forests to drier forests if there is suitable prey.

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the big cats, weighing 30 to 50 pounds and measuring about five feet long. Their short legs, large paws, and long tail (accounts for half their length) help them balance on small branches, and their flexible ankles allow them to run down trees headfirst.

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