How far do leopards travel each day?

Distances of 3 to 5 kilometers per day are measured in areas with abundant prey, but in less productive habitats leopards may walk 10 to 20 kilometres during a night’s hunting.

Leopard walking
A leopard walking in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. Photo: Tony Costa on Flickr. PoC added the words. I hope that is okay.
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That information in the quote above was published in 2002, 18 years ago in Wild Cats Of The World and concerns the common leopard, Panthera pardus. My research indicates that there has been a marked deterioration in the survivability prospects of the leopard since than so I’d expect the distances travelled to be slightly further on average but of course the distances are very variable.

In 1986 and 1990 two studies were published (see below) in which it is stated that male and female leopards travel 16 to 17 kilometers per day and sometimes as far as 33 kilometers in the Kalahari Gemstock National Park. As the number of days increased during which the leopard did not feed, the further the cat travelled to find food. Resident males typically travelled the furthest because their ranges are larger than those of females and because they need to monitor the reproductive status of females.

By ‘day’ I am referring to a 24 hour period.

Studies referred to are: (1) Bothma and Riche in Prey preference and hunting efficiency of Kalahari Desert leopards 1986 and (2) the same authors in The influence of increasing hunger on the hunting behaviour of southern Kalahari leopards 1990.


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