Like cats kept as companions, leopards will growl when angry and purr when content.
All about the Leopard
- Leopards are astoundingly strong. They are pound for pound the strongest of the big cats. They are able to climb trees, even when carrying heavy prey, and often choose to rest on tree branches during the day. One reason why leopards sometimes take their prey up in the trees is to ensure lions or hyenas can’t steal them.
- Leopards are renowned for their agility. They run up to 58km/h and can leap 6m horizontally and 3m vertically. They are also very strong swimmers.
- The leopard is the most elusive and secretive of the large felids. They are extremely difficult to trace and locate in the wild.
- Leopards are predominantly solitary animals that have large territories. While male territories are larger than females and tend to overlap, individuals usually only tolerate intrusion into ranges for mating. They mark their ranges with urine and leave claw marks on trees to warn others to stay away.
- Like cats kept as companions, leopards will growl when angry and purr when content. They have various vocalisations such as a rasping cough which they perform to announce their presence to other leopards.
- Leopards tend to have two or three cubs per gestation. Mothers refrain from wandering their territories after giving birth until their young are capable to come with them. Cubs suckle for around 3 months and are kept hidden for about the first 8 weeks to protect them from predators.
- Leopards tend to have distinctive dark spots called rosettes, which create beautiful patterns against their otherwise light fur. Black leopards however have dark fur which makes it difficult to see the spots. They appear almost solid black and are often called black panthers.
- During the National Geographic programme ‘Eye of the Leopard’, a wild leopard killed a baboon in order to feed herself. However upon noticing an infant baboon clinging to the dead baboon, the leopard amazingly carried the infant up to the safety of the tree to guard her from hyenas. She groomed and cuddled the baby throughout the night, caring for him/her as she would her own cub.
- Leopards have the widest range of habitats of all the big cats. This adaptability has allowed them to survive in various different geographic areas. Perhaps the most extreme example is the amazing snow leopard which lives in the Himalayas.
- Throughout history, leopards have been depicted in artwork, mythology and folklore in numerous countries. They are also now commonly used as an emblem in sports in much of Africa.
- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Carnivore
- Lifespan: 12-17 years
- Size: 125-165 cm long excluding tail
- Weight: 23-90 kg (males heavier than females)
- Habitat: Various ranging between rainforests, grassland, mountains and desert terrains
- Range: Africa, the middle-east, Asia and far-east Russia
- Scientific name: Panthera pardus