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About Leopards

Compared to other wild cats, the leopard has shorter legs and a long body with a large skull. Its fur is marked with rosettes. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but has a smaller, lighter physique, and its rosettes are generally smaller, more densely packed and without central spots. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers.

Leopards benefit from innate stealth, camouflage, and lightning speed reactions. Sharp teeth and claws, strong jaws, powerful bodies, and acute senses make them accomplished hunters. They are also superb climbers and often drag their kill into trees out of reach of other predators.

Leopards are astoundingly strong. They are pound for pound the strongest of the big cats. This means if all the big cats where the same size and weight, the leopard would be the strongest.

Leopards, like most big cats, must defend their home range from others. Smell is the most important form of communication, and they will spray urine and rub scent on trees and bushes around their territory, as well as leaving scratch marks, to warn other animals to keep away.

Leopards are carnivores, but they aren’t picky eaters. They will prey on any animal that comes across their path, such as gazelles, cheetah cubs, baboons, rodents, monkeys, snakes, large birds, amphibians, fish, antelopes, warthogs and porcupines.

Leopards are ambush predators; they crouch low to sneak up to their prey and pounce before it has a chance to react.  A leopard will kill its prey with one swift bite to the neck, breaking it.

It is no wonder that leopards are such great hunters. They can run up to 36 mph (58 kph), jump forward 20 feet (6 meters) and leap 10 feet (3 m) straight up

Leopards don’t need much water. They survive from the moisture they get from eating their prey.

The female leopard gives birth and rears cubs alone; cubs are helpless and rely on their mothers’ milk and as they become weaned, they are dependent on the meat their mothers catch, before learning how to hunt for themselves.

Leopards make a variety of sounds, including a territorial hoarse, raspy cough, a contented purr, and a threatening hiss.

Leopards’ ears can hear five times more sounds that the human ear.

To recognise a male from a female, look at the difference in size. Males are usually much larger and stockier and have a significantly bigger head and paws compared to females. Male bushveld leopards can weigh up to 90kgs, with female’s around 60kgs. The Cape leopard (not a separate species or sub-species) is much smaller with males around 35kg and females around 20kg.

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