Leopard

SPECIES PROFILE

Name: the leopard (Panthera pardus) is one of five species in the genus Panthera – the others being tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards. Collectively this group are known as the ‘big cats’.

Appearance: compared to other big cats, the leopard has a relatively long body and short legs. They are similar in appearance to jaguars, but have a smaller, lighter physique, and their spots are smaller and more densely packed. Both leopards and jaguars can be born with black fur and are known as black panthers.

Size: adult male leopards measure around 1.5 to 2.5 metres from nose to tail and weigh around 60 kg, females are slightly smaller. The largest recorded measured 2.7 metres and the heaviest weighed 96 kg.

Diet: they are carnivores, targeting medium-sized prey such as antelope, wild boar, and monkeys.

Did you know: leopards have featured in art, mythology, and folklore throughout history. During the Benin Empire, the leopard was commonly represented on engravings and sculptures and was used to symbolise the power of the king. As a result of their association with kings in Africa, the leopard’s pelt is often used as a symbol of aristocratic rank. Leopards were also kept and paraded as mascots, totems, and sacrifices to deities. Several were even kept in the Tower of London in the 13th century.

Location: they have the largest distribution of all wild cats, occurring widely in Africa as well as South and South East Asia. They inhabit savanna, rainforest, grasslands, and woodlands throughout this range.

BEST PLACES TO SEE Leopards

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see leopards are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Maasai Mara
Kenya
100%
very high
5.0
very good
2
reports
Tsavo
Kenya
100%
very high
5.0
very good
1
report
Parambikulam
India
100%
very high
3.0
good
1
report
Udawalawe
Sri Lanka
0%
very low
3.0
good
1
report

Photo credit: designerpoint under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay