leopard is found in Africa, Asia Minor, Central Asia,
and the Far East. but occurs most in sub-Saharan Africa.
They are found in all habitats with annual rainfall
above 50 mm. Out of all the African cats, the leopard
is the only species which occupies both rainforest
and arid desert habitats. A leopards home range
averages between 30-78 km2 (males) and 15-16 km2 (females)
in protected areas.
leopard has learnt to adapt in order to survive,
with other large predators around such as the
lion and hyena, food is hard to come by and
to keep. In order to survive the leopard has
adapted several successful behaviors. The first
is that it eats a variety of foods, the leopard
does not hunt for just one kind of prey. Secondly,
leopards often hide their food in trees where
most other predators cant reach. Thirdly
leopards can live without water for periods
of time, obtaining their moisture from prey.
its relatively small body size, the leopard
is still capable of taking down prey twice its
size. With its massive skull and powerful jaw
muscles it makes for a formidable killer. The
leopard preys on dung beetles, rodents, birds,
small and large antelopes, hares, and arthropods.
However, the leopard has a very broad diet due
to changes in prey availability, from porcupines,
to small primates, to ungulates (hoofed mammals).
are generally more active between sunset and
sunrise, and kill more prey at this time.
Studies have found that the average daily
consumption for a leopard is 3.5 kg for adult
males and 2.8 kg for females. And on average
male leopards kill about every three days
and females with cubs about every 1.5 days.
leopard has specialized teeth. The small front incisors
are useful for tearing away fur and flesh from bones,
while the large, pointed rear carnassials come together
like scissors to shear off pieces of meat which the
leopard swallows without chewing.
Equally as important as the specialized teeth, is
the leopard's tongue. Like a common housecat, the
leopard has a rough tongue covered with hook-shaped
structures called papillae. However, whereas the housecat's
tongue feels merely scratchy or rough, the big cat's
tongue can literally peel off the fur and skin of
The paws of a leopard are soft and padded like most
cats, and have retractable claws. The soft pads allow
the leopard to approach prey unnoticed, and then the
claws help bring down the prey in the final rush.
Like all cats the leopards are digitigrades, which
means that they walk on the their toes.
Other specialization’s of the leopard are it’s
incredible jumping ability. It can leap up to 22 feet
long and 10 feet high without much difficulty. Its
whiskers are particularly long and they have several
extra long hairs in the eyebrows, to help protect
the eyes and assist in moving through vegetation in
The lThe leopard has no
mating season, but seems to produce young when food
is ample. Leopards are very solitary animals only
coming together to mate. The gestation period for
a leopard is about 96 (90-105) days. The cubs are
weaned at about 3 months of age and will stay with
their mothers for around 13-18 months, and then leave
to find territories of their own. Female leopards
reach sexual maturity at about 2 years, and males
at around 2-3 years.
The leopard’s life span
in captivity is over 20 years, and but much shorter
in the wild. More than 100,000 leopards survive today,
but their numbers are decreasing. Leopards appear
to be least numerous in West Africa, possibly due
to the high levels of hunting for their skins, and
the lack of food. Some consider the leopard to be
more rare than the lion in the savanna regions.
The leopard is one of the "Big Five" (the
other four being the lion, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros)
they are the most sought-after for sport hunting.
Poaching for the fur trade, and farmers protecting
their livestock have substantially decreased the leopard
population. In South Africa, the leopard has been
eradicated from many areas.