Leopard Cat, Bhitarkanika

Ganesh K Jayaraman


Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Leopard cats are the most widely distributed Asian small cat with several distinct island subspecies. They are extremely versatile, and are comfortable on land, in the trees and in water.

It was a incredible morning at Bhitarkanika and it became more special when I saw a Leopard Cat sitting out in open, basking in the morning sun amidst the mangroves. We were in the boat looking for Bhitarkanika’s famed kingfishers and this sighting was completely unexpected! 

The Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a widespread species. It is the most common small cat after the Jungle Cat from which it can be instantly told by its colouring and longer, leaner appearance. At first glance it looks like a miniature Leopard. They are usually hard to see and photograph in the wild.

Leopard Cats are extremely versatile and are arboreal. They are also comfortable in water. Leopard cats are the most widely distributed Asian small cat (with several distinct island subspecies). They are carnivorous, feeding on a variety of small prey, including mammals, lizards, amphibians, birds and insects. In most parts of their range, small rodents such as rats and mice form the major part of their diet, which is often supplemented with grass, eggs, poultry, and aquatic prey. They are active hunters, dispatching their prey with a rapid pounce and bite.

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