Critter Science

The Science of Animals

leopard

The Secretive Leopard

The leopard sneaks and preys throughout deserts & semi-desert regions, arid regions, mountainous environments, savanna grasslands, rainforests, and occasionally even urban areas. The leopard is a very elusive cat that hunts a wide range of prey, including small hoofstock such as gazelle, impala, deer, and wildebeast. On occasion, they also hunt monkeys, rodents, and even birds. They have even been documented hunting cheetahs! They are mainly preyed upon by humans, for their beautiful coats.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Panthera pardus
Weight: Up to 140+ lbs
Height: Up to 2+ feet at the shoulder
Length: Up to 7.5 feet
Lifespan: Up to 12 years (in the wild) | Up to 23 years (in captivity)

Now on to the Facts!

1.) The color and patterns of a leopard’s coat vary based on the region they’re found. In Eastern Africa the leopard’s rosettes are more circular, but are more square-shaped in Southern Africa. The yellow coat is paler in desert regions.

2.) Even though they are so elusive, leopards are actually the most widely distributed of the African big cats.

3.) Leopards can see approximately seven times better in the dark than humans.

4.) A leopard is strong enough to carry prey up a tree that can weigh more than they do.

5.) The leopard is not only stealthy, they also have lightning quick reflexes!

But wait, there’s more on the leopard!

6.) Want to knw how to tell the difference between a leopard and a cheetah? Leopards have rosette spots on the body & solid black spots on the legs, head and sides. There are also no black facial stripes, like the cheetah has.

7.) Leopards are sexually dimorphic (males and females look quite different from one another). Males being much larger than females with larger heads and larger paws.

Did you know…?
A leopard can run up to 36 mph!

8.) They make a wide range of calls including a raspy cough, territorial hoarse, a threatened hissing sound, and a purring sound.

9.) Contrary to many photographs of leopards chilling out in trees, most of their time is spent on the ground. They typically climb trees to drag prey items up out of the reach of other predators that would seek to steal their kill.

10.) Leopard cubs are born with spots but they are barely visible. The mother hides her cubs in burrows, rocky coves and caves, and moves them from one safe place to the next until they are old enough to begin hunting.

Now a Short Leopard Video!

Learn more about all kinds of cool critters here.

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Critter Man

With over 41 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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