Amur Leopards - Photo by ~~Tone~~ (Flickr)
Leopard facts should be succinct, easy to read and be a summary of the subject matter and that is what I have endeavoured to do here. I have been selective in choosing what I consider the most important facts, which are listed in approximate descending order of importance on this page (in my opinion). Actually the most important fact for all the wild cats is their status in respect of conservation and survival in the wild. Here are some leopard facts:
- there is (a) the common leopard, (b) the snow leopard, (c) the clouded leopard and (d) the Sunda Clouded leopard (this in on the clouded leopard page).
- the “leopard” refers to the common leopard of which there are 9 subspecies.
- Until about 1920 the leopard and panther were considered to be two different species of wildcat. The confusion was due to the different skull shape and size of cat between an adult leopard and a sub-adult.
- the leopard is famous for its spots, mentioned in the bible – see leopard picture (which describes the appearance in some detail).
- the leopard is the largest spotted cat in Africa and Asia.
- the male leopard weighs from 37 to 91 kg (82 to 200 lb) compared to 28 to 60 kg (62 to 130 lb) for female
- the leopard is similar in appearance to the jaguar, which is also spotted.
- the common leopard’s scientific name is Panthera pardus
- this cat is a solitary animal. The home range of a leopard varies enormously with its location and the sex of the animal but varies between 6 km² (female in Thailand) to 1,164 km² (male in Namibia).
- the conservation status of the common leopard is Near Threatened (NT) (Red List of Threatened Species).
- the leopard can be black (melanistic) and it is commonly called a panther when black or black panther – see Black Leopard Picture.
- Its population in the wild is declining. This is a leopard fact that is common to almost all wildcats.
- The distribution of the common leopard is the widest of all felids from desert to forest – see Leopard Habitat.
- Its exceptional stealth and versatility allows it to survive were other wild cats can’t. But its range is limited by human activity and competitors (e.g. tigers).
- A leopard will kill whatever it can catch. It is an opportunistic hunter. It mainly eats medium sized mammals; hunting by using mainly sight and also sound and ambushing prey while on the ground.
- the sub-Saharan leopard eats 92 different species of prey. The Red List people say that leopards have extremely “catholic” diets (meaning universal – wide).
- in some areas (e.g. the Ivory Coast) primates including monkeys are a substantial part of the leopard’s diet. The leopard frightens them out of the tree and catches them on the ground.
- in some areas (e.g. NE Namibia, Africa) leopards stalk to within 4 metres of their prey before attacking, a testament to their stealth. Despite this hunting success rates are low at between 5 and 38% of attempts.
- the leopard travels about 12 kilometres at night and up to 20 km where prey is less abundant.
- the belief that the leopard is a night time hunter is not entirely true. It hunts at night where it is harassed by people or where there are dangerous competitors such as lions and tigers.
- We don’t know with reasonable accuracy how many leopards there are in the wild despite what some people might say.
- the leopard is one of the four big cats – tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard.
- the leopard is a roaring cat. The others are the tiger, lion, jaguar.
- the average weight of the male leopard is about 120 lbs – see leopard picture. But the weight of a leopard depends on where the leopard lives (i.e. Africa or India for instance).
- Leopards can run at about 40 mile per hour over a short distance and leap about 10 feet up.
- Leopards are highly accomplished climbers and can scale the largest of trees and come down head first.
- the name leopardus probably comes from the original belief that the leopard was a cross between the lion and the “pard” (panther).
- the Asian leopard cat is not a leopard but a small wildcat, the wild cat parent of the domestic Bengal cat.
- the leopard will hide prey but not always in trees. It depends partly on where they are in terms of which continent.
- communication is common to all felids being by way of vocalisations, scrapings and scent marking.
- pregnancy lasts about 96 days.
- in the wild cub mortality is as high as 40 – 50%. Sometimes male leopards kill cubs. One of the more surprising leopard facts.
- man eating leopards (new window) are famous but they are simply old or injured (by people, often) leopards forced to take easy prey (people) and consequently shot. There is little glamor in the entire process.
- Black leopard pictures
- Amur leopard
- Amur leopard population
- Leopard cubs
- Why do leopards have spots?
- Leopard terrorises village
- Leopard rescued from a well
Leopard Facts – source: internet (various) and Wild Cats of the World by the Sunquists.
Leopard Facts – heading photo by ~~Tone~~