Leopard

(Panthera pardus)

Range and habitat
The leopard is native to Africa, Asia and parts of Russia. It can be found in different types of areas from tropical forests to savannahs and sometimes even at high altitudes, like Mt Kilimanjaro at an altitude of up to 5,600 metres.

Appearance
A leopard’s fur is covered with black spots, also called rosettes. These spots are a well-known characteristic of the animal. The colours of the fur depend on where the animal lives so that it blends in well with its surroundings. For example, the fur is yellowish-brown or pale yellow in warm, dry areas, and reddish-orange in dense forests. Furthermore, the leopard has a broad head; its large skull ensures that the animal has powerful jaw muscles, which allows it to easily consume all its prey.

Did you know?
  • A leopard often eats its prey in a tree.
  • Length Head and body 95-191 cm.
  • Weight females 17 - 42 kg, males 20 - 90 kg.
  • Lifespan In captivity 21 to 23 years; 10 to 12 years in the wild
  • Range Africa, Asia and Russia.
  • Habitat Tropical forests and Savannahs.
Reproduction
During the mating season, which is year-round, males and females mate with multiple partners. When they have a partner, they mate up to 100 times a day for several days. During this period, leopards share their food. A leopard is pregnant for an average of 96 days and gives birth to an average of two cubs every 15 to 24 months.
Diet
Leopards are predators and eat animals such as small antelopes, gazelles, deer, wild boar and monkeys. They will also eat birds or reptiles if they can get hold of them, although they prefer to hunt prey between 15 and 40 kg. While hunting, leopards can reach a top speed of up to 60 km/hour.
Behaviour and habits
Leopards live solitary lives and mark their territory with urine, faeces and claw marks. These big cats communicate with their own kind by growling, roaring or even spitting when irritated. When a leopard is satisfied, it purrs.Leopards are most comfortable in a tree. This is where they eat their prey if they can, which keeps them safe from uninvited guests who might snatch their food. If they encounter water, this is no problem. The leopard feels comfortable in water and is a competent swimmer.