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An early succes: Marbled Cat!

An early succes: Marbled Cat!

When I’m going on a trip I always try to make a somewhat realistic estimation of what is possible. My main goal in Borneo was to see as many cat species as I could find, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy to see more than one. There is only one cat easy on Borneo and that’s Sunda Leopard Cat. After that it gets tough! There are five species of cat that live on Borneo. The already mentioned Sunda Leopard Cat, Marbled Cat, Flat-headed Cat, the big one: Sunda Clouded Leopard and the most rare: Bay Cat. Bay Cat is in my opinion the most difficult cat to find on the planet so I knew I probably wouldn’t see that one. It would not be that much easier to see any of the others though. So I decided I would consider the trip a success if I saw even one other wild cat apart from the Sunda Leopard Cat.

My trip started in Danum Valley. This beautiful place is a good spot for many animals on Borneo, but I mainly went there for the birds. Especially Bornean Bristlehead was a big target and I got it!

Bornean Bristlehead

It was possible to go spotlighting in the evening in Danum Valley. The regular tour lasted 1,5 hours. Later we found out there was also a possibility to book a private jeep which did drives for 3 hours. My main focus for the cats was on a different area called Deramakot where I would spend 10 consecutive days while going out for 7 hours every single night: the real deal! So I didn’t expect much from those extra couple of hours in Danum, but getting a first look at the Bornean nightlife would probably be fun.

I had four nights in Danum. The first two nights I went with the small 1,5 hour tour. For the third night we found out about the 3 hours option so that’s what we would do for our last two nights. The third night started out well. We encountered multiple Malay Civets one of which acted especially tame. That’s how you want to see all your new species!

Malay Civet

After about 1.5 hours’ drive suddenly a cat crossed the road. The guide was quick to call it a Marbled Cat but it turned out to be a Sunda Leopard Cat. In any case my first cat on Borneo was in the bag! Sadly we didn’t see it very well.

On the way back it was pretty quiet. When we were almost back at the Field Centre, I suddenly see yellow eye shine on the branch of a tree.

Assuming it would turn out to be a civet, we have a better look anyway through the binoculars. Quickly it turns out that this is not a civet. Marbled Cat or Clouded Leopard! When we have a closer look it turns out to be a Marbled Cat: one of the most difficult cats of Asia! This cat is supposed to be even more difficult than Bornean Clouded Leopard and we are overjoyed that we have found it. Of course it’s also a very beautiful cat with that long thick tail and beautifully patterned fur. The cat shows itself very well for about 15 minutes.

Marbled Cat

Finally the cat decides it wants to move on and descends ‘head first’ from the tree!

Marbled Cat

Very cool to see also this behaviour because this way of descending is so typical for this species. Together with clouded leopards and the Margay is this one of the few cats that is capable of twisting it’s ankles so that it can descend head first.

It was an awesome observation and also one that immediately gave a great feeling for the rest of the trip. I’m only on my third day of three weeks and already the trip is a success!

Want to see some more pictures of Borneo?

Find out more about my encounter with Bornean Clouded Leopard!

Or get a glimpse of a Flat-headed Cat!

Sunda Leopard Cat is a really beautiful cat too!                                                                                          

Seeing the Bornean Ground Cuckoo at last was a big relief!

Or see more of the beautiful civets of Borneo including the rare Otter Civet!

Owls are never boring and there are some nice ones on Borneo!

And here is a tripreport!


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