| Latin Name
| Conservation Status
||Africa & Asia
||0.9 - 1.9 m (3 - 6.25 ft)
||60 - 110 cms (24 - 43 inches)
||37 - 90 Kgs (82 - 200 lbs)
| Life Expectancy
10 - 15 Yrs (Wild)
20 Yrs (in Captivity)
The Leopard is the fifth largest feline in the world behind the tiger, lion, jaguar and mountain lion. They have a body length between 0.9 and 1.9 m (3 - 6.25 ft), a tail length between 60 and 110 cms (24 - 43 inches) and they weigh between 82 and 200 lbs).
There can be considerable variations in the size of Leopards due to their distribution and available resources, for example Leopards that live in mountainous regions are smaller than those that live on savannahs due to their prey being smaller. Also typically female Leopards are 20 - 40 % smaller than males.
Leopards are strongly built and have a large head with extremely strong jaw muscles. They are graceful, stealthy animals and they are well known for their ability to go undetected. They are very agile climbers, good swimmers and probably the most accomplished stalker of all the big cats.
Leopards have a light tan base coloured coat with a black rosette pattern and a lighter coloured underside. The shade of their base coat depends on their location.
Melanistic or black Leopards are far less common than the spotted form. They are known as Panthers (as are black Jaguars). They appear to be entirely black, but their markings can be seen if examined closely.
Darker coloured individuals tend to be found in the dense forest areas of India and south east Asia as this helps them to stay hidden, and lighter coloured, larger animals tend to be found in the open plains.
Leopards are the most widespread feline and they can be found in Africa, India, China, Korea and Siberia. They are very adaptable and live in open savannah, forests, jungles and mountainous areas.
They are solitary animals and males have territories between 5 and 40 sq. Kms (3 - 25 sq. miles). They mark the boundaries with urine and are very defensive of them. Their territory will overlap those of several females.
Leopards are opportunistic hunters and feed on a wide variety of prey. Their diet consists of monkeys, antelopes, gazelles, duiker, eland, impala, wildebeest, jackals, rodents, hyraxes, insects, hares, snakes, birds, sheep and goats.
Leopards stalk up to their prey and launch an ambush, killing with a quick bite to the neck. They are extremely strong and can drag prey up to 3 times their own body weight up into a tree to consume it.
They can live without water for long periods of time, getting all the moisture they need from their prey.
After a gestation period of 90 - 105 days, 2 - 4 cubs are born in a den. They are born blind but have their eyes open within 10 days. At 3 months old they are weaned and begin to follow their mother when she goes out to hunt.
The cubs stay with their mother for 13 - 18 months then they leave to find their own territories. Males take no part in the rearing of cubs and 40 - 50 % of cubs do not reach adulthood.
Breeding takes place all year round in the tropical areas but it is seasonal in the savannahs and Leopards have a birthing interval of approximately 2 - 3 years.
Humans are the main predators of Leopards.
Due to Leopards having such a wide range, they have many subspecies. Some of them are listed below:
Panthera pardus pardus - Africa
Panthera pardus saxicolor - Central Asia. Listed as endangered. They are also known as the Iranian Leopard.
Panthera pardus fusca - India
Sri Lanka Leopard
Panthera pardus kotiya - Sri Lanka. Listed as endangered.
Panthera pardus delacouri - Indochina
North China Leopard
Panthera pardus japonensis - China. Listed as endangered.
Panthera pardus orientalis or amurensis - Amur Region, border Russia, China, North Korea. Listed as critically endangered. Less than 50 left in the wild. They are also known as the Far East Leopard and the Siberian Leopard.
Panthera pardus melas - Java. Listed as endangered. It is a small Leopard and melanism is very common.
Panthera pardus nimr - Arabia. Listed as critically endangered.
Panthera pardus tulliana - Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. Listed as critically endangered, possibly extinct.
Panthera pardus panthera - Algeria and Egypt. Listed as critically endangered, possibly extinct.
Panthera pardus ciscaucasica. Listed as critically endangered.
Panthera pardus jarvisi - Sinai Peninsula. Listed as critically endangered, possibly extinct. They are also known as the Eilat Desert Leopard.
Panthera pardus adersi - Unguja Island. Listed as critically endangered, possibly extinct.
Panthera pardus millardi - Kashmir
Panthera pardus nanopardus - Somalia & Ethiopia
Panthera pardus suahelica - Eastern Africa
Panthera pardus melanotica - Southern Africa
Panthera pardus sindica - South West Africa
Panthera pardus pernigra - Nepal & Kashmir
Leopards can drag up to 3 times their own body weight into a tree and place it on branches over 6 m (19.7 ft) high.