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Marble Cat: Where It Lives, Appearance, Character And Habits, Photo
Marble Cat: Where It Lives, Appearance, Character And Habits, Photo

The marble cat: life in nature and in captivity

Marble cat
Marble cat

One of the rarest, most beautiful and mysterious wild cats lives in Southeast Asia. Few people have met the marble cat in its natural habitat, and not only because there are very few of these animals left - a small forest predator diligently avoids intersections with humans. And she has good reasons for that.


  • 1 Who are marble cats

    • 1.1 Habitat
    • 1.2 External data
  • 2 Living in the wild

    • 2.1 Where does the marbled cat live
    • 2.2 Lifestyle and character

      2.2.1 Video: marbled cat walks in the forest

    • 2.3 Nutrition
    • 2.4 Reproduction
    • 2.5 Major threats

      2.5.1 Video: a selection of video surveillance from the reserve

  • 3 Keeping in captivity

    3.1 Is it possible to tame a marble cat

Who are marble cats

A very beautiful and rare animal lives in the humid thickets of tropical forests - the marble cat (Latin name is Pardofelis marmorata). Until recently, scientists ranked this species as a small cat, but more detailed studies of the animal's DNA have attributed the forest predator to another subfamily - large cats. According to some authoritative zoologists, the marbled cat is, as it were, a transitional link between these two subfamilies.

Marble cat on the shore
Marble cat on the shore

To meet this beauty is a rare luck

Not only in the scientific classification, but also in the real life of a wild beauty, there are enough unsolved mysteries to this day. Probably, it is the marble cat itself that carefully guards its secrets from people. A unique species, like many other animals, suffered a lot from human activity and cruelty - today there are no more than ten thousand individuals of the marbled cat left in nature, and its population is constantly decreasing.


It is surprising in general that at least so many of these wild animals have survived to this day - for many years people have mercilessly exterminated the marble cat for its beauty - nature has given it too spectacular a fur coat. The little predator was saved from complete disappearance by caution and distrust: she prefers to settle in impassable thickets and meet with people less.

Marble cat in the bushes
Marble cat in the bushes

This hiznitsa is extremely careful and distrustful.

The marble cat lives in the following countries of Southeast Asia:

  • Bangladesh;
  • Burma;
  • Vietnam;
  • India;
  • Indonesia;
  • Cambodia;
  • China;
  • Laos;
  • Malaysia;
  • Nepal;
  • Thailand.
The habitat of the marble cat
The habitat of the marble cat

Small populations of feral cats have a wide range

There are two subspecies that differ phenotypically: Pardofelis marmorata marmorata and Pardofelis marmorata chritoni. Despite the extensive range, the density of the species distribution remains extremely low. On each of the territories, only small islets have survived, where small populations of marbled cats live. Almost everywhere the rare species is listed in the Red Book and Appendix I of CITES - it is protected at the legislative level.

External data

A luxurious tail is the first thing that immediately attracts attention when looking at a marble cat. Hardly anyone else in the cat family has such an outstanding, large and beautiful tail - in length it is equal to the size of the body of its owner. Why does a marble cat need this beauty? The answer is simple. Thick and heavy, but very flexible tail plays an important role of rudder and balance, allowing the predator not only to quickly climb trees and almost vertical rocks, but also make dizzying jumps and pirouettes.

Marble cat from the back
Marble cat from the back

Cat-cat, why do you need such a big tail?

The most contrasting pattern covers the animal's back, lightens on the sides, and the coat on the belly is the least pigmented. The chaotic "marble" pattern gave the name to this type of animal. Paws and tail are dotted with black spots, which become larger on the tail. The ears of the nocturnal predator are interestingly colored - small rounded white spots are located behind them. The trick is that at dusk these specks may seem to another animal staring at him with eyes - and discourage him from sneaking up on the marble cat from behind.

Muzzle of a marble cat
Muzzle of a marble cat

Marble camouflage helps this little predator survive

Marble cat sitting
Marble cat sitting

This cute pussy is a cocky and merciless predator

The body length of a marbled cat usually does not exceed half a meter, and the length of its wonderful tail is exactly the same. The animal's musculature is well developed. On closer examination, the simatic face demonstrates the perfected senses:

  • huge, wide-set expressive eyes - vision;
  • alert rounded ears - hearing;
  • large, butterfly-like nose - sense of smell;
  • long stiff mustache - touch.
Marble cat in profile
Marble cat in profile

All the talents of the hunter are "written" on the marble cat's face

This is a rather small animal, although the modern classification classifies it as a large cat. Adult males usually do not weigh more than five kilograms, and females even less.

Marble cat shows teeth
Marble cat shows teeth

When this cute kitty opens her mouth, everyone can feel uncomfortable.

Life in the wild

Modern scientific observations of the rare feline species are literally bit by bit. A lot of valuable data was obtained when a special chip was implanted in a marble cat caught in nature in 2000. Episodic information is also obtained from video cameras that are installed in many reserves and record the life of animals living there.

Marble cat looking at the camera
Marble cat looking at the camera

A rare frame from a surveillance camera

Where does the marbled cat live?

The favorite habitats of Pardofelis marmorata are impenetrable rainforests, away from human trails and dwellings. But some small populations willingly settle in high-mountainous rocky areas, where any vegetation is practically absent. The territory, which is "supervised" by one animal, is about six square kilometers.

Marble cat on a tree
Marble cat on a tree

The marble cat spends most of its life in the trees

Lifestyle and character

Marble cats are unsurpassed steeplejacks; they are much less likely to move along the ground than along the branches of tall trees, flying up to their trunks at lightning speed when necessary. Here, in the tree crowns, under the cover of dense foliage, a significant part of the marble cat's life takes place. She leads an exclusively nocturnal lifestyle, and in the daytime she sleeps, comfortably sitting on the branches.

Marble cat on a tree trunk
Marble cat on a tree trunk

In some ways it looks like a squirrel, isn't it?

Hunting is the main essence of the marble cat, and her strong body and her whole way of existence are ideally adapted for this occupation. This ideal hunter is able to lie motionless for hours, like a statue, waiting for her victim to appear. But as soon as the moment is right, the predator makes a deadly shot - lightning fast and accurate; almost all of her attacks are effective.

The marble cat is also excellent at tracking down prey - here its excellent sense of smell and keen eyesight become its faithful helpers: the animal sees well in the dark.

Video: marble cat walks in the forest


The diet of the marbled cat is very diverse, and it replenishes its menu, mainly hunting in the crowns of trees. Here tree squirrels, bats, and, of course, various birds can become predators' trophies. On occasion, she will not refuse to feast on other small prey: rodents, amphibians, reptiles and even large insects, which are abundant in the tropics.

Marble cat on the hunt
Marble cat on the hunt

The marble cat hunts not only in the crowns of trees, but also in the reed thickets

The appetite of these cats is good - the daily diet of the predator tightens up to 0.8 kilograms in weight, which is about one sixth of the live weight of an adult animal.


Most of their lives, these animals spend alone: ​​controlling the boundaries of their territory and protecting them from the invasion of strangers. But once a year a marble cat and a cat meet to indulge in the joys of love. And in such an important intimate matter, they also differ from most of their relatives. This species does not have a mating season determined by the season - a couple is formed when there is a mutual desire for that.

Pair of marble cats
Pair of marble cats

The season of love for marble cats comes at any time of the year

Preparing for childbirth, the expectant mother-cat begins to equip the den in advance, in which she will raise her offspring. The place for the nest is chosen the most inaccessible: in the hollow of an old tree or in a cave hidden in dense grass thickets.

Pregnancy in a female lasts a little longer than in other representatives of the feline family - up to 85 days. In the time set by nature, blind, deaf and helpless kittens are born - there are rarely more than four of them in a litter, and at first they look completely unmarbled. At birth, babies weigh no more than one hundred grams. And the first fur of newborn cubs has a monochromatic brownish tint, beautiful dark stains will appear on it much later, by the age of four months.

Tabby Cat Kitten
Tabby Cat Kitten

By the age of four months, the kitten's baby coat completely changes to an adult

The main threats

The main risks for the existence of the marbled cat are human economic activities - deforestation and the development of the original territories of the wild species.

The natural enemies of the marbled cat are the larger predators, mainly its fellow felines living in the same region. The wild Bengal cat, whose habitats often intersect in the marble cat, could compete in the food base. But the first of the small predators hunts only on the ground, and the second - mainly on the upper tier of the tropical forest.

Marble cat on a branch
Marble cat on a branch

The masterly ability to climb trees helps not only to hunt, but also to save herself from other predators

Video: a selection of video surveillance from the reserve

Keeping in captivity

Due to the complexity of research in its natural habitat, most of the data on the marbled cat is formed on the basis of observations of those representatives of the species that are kept in zoos. For example, we do not know anything about the life span of these animals in nature - in captivity it is no more than twelve years.

Marble cat in an aviary
Marble cat in an aviary

The marbled cat takes root well in zoos

A little more than a dozen marble cats live in zoos around the world; under good conditions, they often give birth to offspring in captivity. They prefer spacious open-air cages with a difficult landscape and a lot of shelters. Animals are difficult to display in that they come out of their hiding places mainly in the dark, when there are no more visitors to the zoo.

Is it possible to tame a marble cat

In the homeland of the wild predator, locals sometimes bring small forest kittens to their homes to tame them. There is information about hybrids obtained from crossing this wild species with domestic animals - such individuals are quite viable, but very rarely give offspring. Cubs of marble cats are well tamed, but growing up, they can demonstrate their aggressive disposition, or even run away from home into their native jungle.

The marble cat growls
The marble cat growls

A marbled cat kitten will never become a cute and complaisant pet

Despite the strictest ban on the export of marbled cats abroad, some individuals are periodically smuggled to Europe, where there is a demand for exotic predatory animals. According to some reports, rare wild cats are kept in private menageries of Russia. Such a stay is illegal and therefore is not particularly advertised.

Even if you have an almost incredible opportunity to get a marble cat in your possession - do not risk it. A wild animal will remain that way forever, its place is in its natural habitat, in a tropical forest. But certainly not in a human apartment - such attempts always end in failure.

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