Genus: Panthera (This is the group containing the four big cats who can roar- the tiger, the lion, the jaguar, and the leopard)
Species: Panthera pardus
African leopard. (Panthera panthera pardus). Sub-saharan Africa.
Indian leopard. (Panthera panthera fusca). India.
Javan Leopard. (Panthera panthera melas). Indonesian island of Java.
Arabian leopard. (Panthera panthera nimr). Arabian Peninsula (Southern Arabia, Yemen, and Oman).
Amur leopard. (Panthera panthera orientalis). Russian Far East, Korean Peninsula, and Northeast China. One of the most endangered creatures in the wild.
North Chinese leopard. (Panthera panthera japonensis). Northern China.
Persian leopard. (Panthera panthera saxicolor). Caucasus is where the Caucaus Mountain range is, one of the borders between Europe and Asia. Countries in the area include Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and southwest Russia. The Persian leopard also lives in Turkmenistan (Turkmenistan is bordered by Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and the Caspian Sea.
Indochinese leopard. (Panthera panthera delacouri). Mainland southeast Asia.
Sri lankan leopard. (Panthera panthera kotiya). Sri Lanka.
Anatolian leopard. (Panthera panthera tulliana). Western Turkey.
Balochistan leopard. (Panther panthera sindica). Pakistan, possible parts of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The leopard is the smallest of the four big cats who can roar (the tiger, the lion, and the jaguar are the other three). It can weigh up to 150 pounds (50-77 kg) and can live approx 12 years in the wild and up to 20 in captivity.
The Leopard looks a lot like a jaguar but they are pretty different. The leopard only lives in the Old World (Africa and Asia). The Jaguar only lives in the Americas. The leopard is lighter than the jaguar ( plus the jaguar has a blockier head.) They have different spot formations too. The leopard has no dots inside their rosettes. Jaguars do have spots inside their rosettes. For both cats however, the rosettes are “raised” and can be felt if one were to run their hand across the fur.
This is a black leopard from Karnataka, India. When a large cat like a leopard or jaguar is melanistic (meaning their fur is black) they are sometimes called black panthers. Technically, any large cat with black fur could be called a black panther (which is not a scientific term). There have been reports of black mountain lions but there’s no photo substantiation yet. Melanistic bobcats (which are of course much smaller) have been documented however. Note: Interestingly, the melanistic leopard and jaguar still have spots, and you can sometimes see them in the bright sunshine.
More Leopard info:
The leopard has a wide range in some parts of Africa, tropical Asia, Siberia, South Asia, West Asia, and most of sub-Saharan Africa. Its digs all kinds of habitats- from rainforest to desert terrain.
The leopard can run up to speeds approaching 36 mph (58 km). It can climb tall trees while carrying heavy carcasses. The leopard is the strongest climber among the big cats- a leopard can carry prey twice its weight up a tree! Leopards are also willing to eat almost anything- they’ll eat a beetle one minute and an antelope twice their own weight the next. They also eat carrion (dead stuff).
As of 2015, the leopard is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Some subspecies are endangered. It is regionally extinct in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya, and Tunisia. The leopard is still functioning in the wild though. More info on the IUCN here