Leopards are elusive creatures found in the African animal kingdom. The cool camouflage and solitary nature makes them hard to spot on safari. It is thrilling to see these mysterious animals and there is spine chilling effect on meeting eye-to-eye.
True Leopard facts
Leopards jump vertically up to 9.8 feet. They grow 3 to 6.2 feet long. Their tail adds to their length. Females and males differ in weight. The females weigh 21 to 60 kg and the males weigh 36 to 75 kg. Their lifespan is 12 to 17 years in the open wild and up to 23 years in captivity.
The gold spotted and cream fur makes them special, while some leopards feature black fun and dark spots. Leopards hunt prey at night and are mostly nocturnal. They are carnivores and prey on animals coming their way and it may be cheetah cubs, monkeys, rodents, baboons, large birds, snakes, fish, amphibians, antelopes, porcupines and warthogs.
Leopards are prominent for their agility. They leap horizontally 6 meters and run up to 58 km/h (36 mph). They are very strong swimmers. Adult leopards have their own territory and they do not cross others territory. They are astoundingly strong as the strongest among big cats. They easily climb trees carrying heavy prey and rest during day times on tree branches. They settle on the trees with their prey so that hyenas or lions do not steal their prey.
- Leopard is from a Greek word that is a combination of lion (leon) and panther ( Pardus).
- Leopards are not easy to trace in the wild. Their female leopards mate with many dominating male leopards close to their territory. It is to take away the risk of her cubs being killed by other rival males. Leopard’s gestation period is for 3 months and they give birth to 2 to 3 cubs.
- The leopard cubs are born blind and depend on their mothers completely. Their eyes start opening after ten or even more days and their eyes appear bright blue for first few months. These cubs stay for nearly two years with their mothers and learn survival tricks of hunting.
Leopards do not drink much water. They get moisture from their prey and it is enough for their survival. Their ears are very sharp to hear five times more than human ear. The spots of leopards are known as rosettes as they appear as the roses.
The leopard populations are declining because of fragmentation and habitat loss in many parts of the world. Leopards are depicted in mythology, artwork, and folklore. Leopards are fast felines covering 59km/hr. They leap forward 6m and are super springy.
Leopards enjoy different variety and eat fish, bugs, monkeys, antelope, deer, rodents, and so on. They are active at night providing to be nocturnal animals. They hunt food at night, while spend daytime resting hiding in their caves or camouflaging in the trees.
Leopards hunt their food, approach keeping their head low and legs bent. It is because they should not be seen. They stalk quietly and carefully their prey. They usually attack on the neck or throat with a bite.
Leopards communicate giving distinctive calls. It may be a raspy, hoarse cough, even when a male leopard is arriving. It is way of making his presence feel. They purr if happy and growl if angry.
Leopards have adapted retinas that they can see in the dark seven times better than humans. The male leopards are stockier and larger with bigger paws and head weighing up to 90 kgs and females weigh around 60 kgs. One leap of a leopard in water is over six meters.
Female leopards are protective of their cubs and they hide them in Lairs found in variety of places such as in the bottom of deep galleys in the dense thickets, old aardvark holes near the termite mounds, or granite boulders featuring outcrops. They serve as a refuge for the cubs, when the mother is away. The mother keeps changing the lair places frequently to eliminate predators.