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Are leopards good climbers?

Yes, leopards are good (great) climbers. I’d say that they are the best climbers of all the large wild cats by quite a margin.

Leopard climbing.

The often take their prey into trees where there is sparse cover in order to protect their kill. Lions, hyenas and wild dogs force leopards to protect their killed prey by taking it to trees. This takes enormous strength and climbing ability. This happens a lot in the Serengeti and Masai Mara.

The picture on this page from Caters News Agency shows a lion chasing a leopard up a tree. This is unusual because the leopard is a much better climber than the lion. In this instance the lion gave up and the leopard escaped. Note: lions sometimes rest in trees as do leopards.

Leopard escapes lion in tree. Photo: Derick Benezet Kaijage and Caters News Agency.

The picture was taken by Derick Benezt Kaijage, 40, an assistant manager at Asilia Safari Park in the Serengeti.

The video shows shows the leopard’s skill in climbing.

Leopards sometimes flush monkeys from trees. Monkeys appear to be frightened of the leopard’s climbing ability because a scientist, Pocock, reported that leopards caught langurs by ‘feigning climbing the tree they were in, and when the monkeys jumped to the ground to escape, they were easily captured’.

In another incident reported by Dunbar Brander two leopards hunted langurs in tandem. One was high up the tree while the other was on the first branch. The langurs panicked and jumped to the ground where they were caught.

The conclusion is that leopards are very comfortable climbing trees and are highly skilled at it.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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