Leopard – wild spotted cat
The leopard is a wild cat of Africa and Asia, known for its spotted coat. Its scientific name is Panthera pardus. Leopards are sometimes called panthers.
An average leopard weighs between 50 to 90 kilograms and is about 2 meters long, not including the long tail, which can reach a length of up to 1 meter. Most leopards have yellow fur on the back and white fur underneath. Dark spots cover much of the body. The leopard called the black panther has a black coat on which the spots barely show.
Leopards can live in forests, deserts, grasslands, mountains, and rocky places. They are great climbers and good swimmers.
These animals live alone and come together only to mate. After a gestation period of 90 to 105 days a female gives birth to two to four cubs. She alone cares for the cubs, hiding them until they are six to eight weeks old.
They hunt antelope, deer, dogs, and baboons at night. They also eat cattle and may attack humans. Leopards drag their prey high into a tree to protect it from other animals. Old or sick leopards more often hunt humans, because it is easier to hunt them than herbivorous armed with sharp horns.
People hunt leopards for sport and for fur. Leopards have protection only in national parks, where they are considered a tourist attraction.
Often leopards are confused with cheetah, but these are two completely different species. Cheetahs are smaller and lighter, in addition, they are the fastest land creatures on earth.
The spots on the skin of each leopard is unique – there are no two identical, as there are no people with the same fingerprints.
Leopards are able to growl, like lions, and purr like domestic cats.
Leopard is able to run at speeds up to 57 kilometers per hour. This is half that of a cheetah, but still very fast for a living creature.
In captivity, leopards live on average twice as long as in the wild.