What is the biggest animal that a leopard has been recorded killing?

It seems that the biggest animal that a leopard has been recorded killing is an adult eland bull, an animal about ten times the weight of the male leopard which killed it. If the male leopard weighed around 70 kg (154 lbs) – a good weight for a male which averages around 60kg – the eland would have weighed 700 kg (1,540 lbs). Bull elands weigh between 400-942 kg. A quora.com contributor said that the eland weighed 900k kg. This would have meant that the leopard weighed 90 kg which is the maximum for this species of cat.

A leopard cannot change its spots

A leopard cannot change its spots. Image by Michael Siebert from Pixabay

It is a startling feat of daring and courage. What makes the kill all the more impressive is that the leopard attacked the eland by ambushing it from a tree. I don’t have a photo record of the eland kill but photos below provide a flavour of what happened.

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After jumping onto the eland, tracks showed that the leopard hung on as it ran through undergrowth and bushes. The eland fell twice while trying to shed its passenger. When it fell for the third time the leopard grabbed its throat in its jaws and suffocated it. This is the classic throat bite used by large wild cats to kill large prey animals. Although my domestic cat uses it to kill pigeons 😕 .

It is uncommon for leopards to attack prey from trees. There is a picture on quora.com, published here below, of a female leopard jumping onto a kudu cow and killing it. And below that picture another large prey animal, a large zebra mare, is killed by a large male leopard using the usual throat bite.

Leopards are able to bring down large prey but they’ll attack and eat almost anything and can get into a routine in attacking the same animal species. For example, in the Ngorongoro Crater a leopard was seen to catch and eat eleven jackals in twenty-one days.

Leopards are widely distributed across the planet and feed on a much larger range of animals than most other large wild cat species.

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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