Do leopards eat zebras and lion cubs?

Yes, leopards eat zebras and lion cubs when possible. The leopard has a very wide range of prey animals and their diet is reflected in the list of prey animals available in the area where they are living. For example, ‘at least 92 prey species are recorded in the diet of sub-Saharan leopards’ (TN Bailey – The African Leopard 1993). Leopards kill whatever prey they can. They are opportunistic predators ‘killing vulnerable animals as they are encountered’ (Wild Cats of the World).

Leopard hunting at night
Leopard hunting at night to avoid people and more dominant predators. Pic: Pixabay.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The list of animals killed by the leopard is extensive and includes those listed below. The selection of prey depends on availability which in turn depends on where the leopard lives, as mentioned. They have an enormous distribution encompassing many countries.

What is the biggest animal that a leopard has been recorded killing?
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  • zebras
  • rodents
  • rabbits
  • hares
  • several species of deer
  • duiker
  • antelope
  • pigs
  • jackals
  • foxes
  • porcupines
  • pangolins
  • monkeys
  • doves
  • partridges
  • guinea fowls
  • peafowls
  • vultures
  • ostriches
  • reptiles
  • amphibians
  • invertebrates
  • grass
  • watermelons! (Reported in Gujarat, India).
  • dogs (pet and stray). They have a taste for dog flesh it is said.
  • sheep
  • goats
  • calves
  • cats (domestic and stray)
  • domestic livestock generally
  • bat eared foxes
  • young spotted hyenas
  • aardwolves
  • mongooses
  • genets
  • lion cubs
  • cheetah cubs
  • wild dog pups
  • ungulates weighing less than 50 kg in Chitwan NP
  • ungulates weighing 2 or 3 times their own weight (seldom occurs however)
  • hog deer
  • barking deer
  • chital
  • sambar
  • hog badgers (Thailand)
  • bamboo rats
  • roe deer (Russia)
  • silka deer (Russia)
  • older female impalas (Kruger NP)
  • monkeys
  • primate species
  • macaques
  • baboons
  • langurs.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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