African Leopard

African Leopard

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is one of the five “big cats” (Tiger, Lion, Jaguar, Leopard and Snow Leopard) in the genus Panthera. Compared to other members of Felidae, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more lightly built. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more lightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard’s rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguar’s do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers.

The leopard’s success in the wild is due to its well camouflaged fur; its opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet, and strength to move heavy carcasses into trees; its ability to adapt to various habitats ranging from rainforest to steppe and including arid and montane areas; and to run at speeds up to 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph).

They feed on a greater diversity of prey than other members of the genus Panthera, and are reported to eat anything from dung beetles to common elands, though medium-sized prey species in the 20–80 kg (44–176 lb) range are usually taken. The largest prey reported killed by a leopard was a 900 kg (2,000 lb) male eland (an antelope found in East and Southern Africa), although leopards generally do not prey on such large animals. Photo: wikipedia

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