Species: Panthera pardus
Leopard Conservation Status: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15954/0
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 50-77 kg (150 lbs). The Leopard can live approx 12 years in the wild and up to 20 in captivity.
The Leopard has a wide range in some parts of Africa, tropical Asia, Siberia, South Asia, West Asia, and most of sub-Saharan Africa. It digs all kinds of habitats- from rainforest to desert terrain.
The Leopard can run up to speeds approaching 58 km (36 mph). 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).
The Leopard looks a lot like a Jaguar but they are pretty different. The Leopard lives in the Old World (Africa and Asia). The Jaguar only lives in the New World (the Americas). Leopards are a little bit smaller and sleeker than Jaguars (Jaguars are heavier, more muscular, and have blockier heads).
Cheetahs, Leopards, and Jaguars have different spot formations.
Cheetahs have simple spots.
Leopards and Jaguars have rosettes; a rosette is a rose-like marking or formation found on the fur and skin of some animals, particularly wild cats.
Leopards DO NOT have dots inside their rosettes.
Jaguars DO have dots inside their rosettes.
Both Leopards and Jaguars have raised rosettes that can be felt if one were to run their hand across the fur.
This is a black Leopard from Karnataka, India. When a large wild cat like a Leopard or Jaguar is melanistic (meaning their fur is black) they are sometimes called black panthers. There have been reports of black Mountain Lions but there’s no photo substantiation yet. Melanistic Bobcats (which are a type of Lynx and much smaller) have been documented however. Note: Melanistic Leopards and Jaguars still have spots, and one can sometimes see them in the bright sunshine.
A Leopard and their melanistic mate