Leopard - Panthera pardus
( Linnaeus, 1758 )

 

 

Leopard Photo
Leopard Location Map
Africa / Asia
Leopard Photo Leopard Location Map Africa / Asia

Subspecies: 25
Est. World Population: > 500,000

CITES Status: APPENDIX I
IUCN Status: ENDANGERED
U.S. ESA Status: ENDANGERED

Body Length: 39 - 70 in
Tail Length: 20 - 25 in
Shoulder Height: 17 - 30 in
Weight: 90 - 150 lbs

Top Speed:
Jumping Ability: 22 ft / 10 ft (Horitontal/Vertical)

Life Span: 14 - 19 yrs in the Wild
Life Span: 16 - 21 yrs in Captivity

Sexual Maturity: 31 - 34 mo (Females)
Sexual Maturity: 24 - 36 mo (Males)
Litter Size: 3 - 4
Gestation Period: 92 - 105 days

Identification:
Because of their wide distribution, leopards exhibit extreme variability in coat color, ranging from greyish or pale yellow to a rich buff or chestnut color. There are black spots on the head, lower limbs and tail, and black spots that form rosettes on the back, flanks, and upper limbs of the sleek, athletic body. The underside of the body is whitish in color. Coat colour and patterning are broadly associated with habitat type. The leopard is often confused with the jaguar Panthera onca of Central and South America, but are relatively smaller and slimmer, with a longer tail and smaller head. Melanistic leopards called black panthers are fairly common, especially in moist, dense forests like those of Bengal and Java.

Subspecies:
P.p.adersi:
- Zanzibar
P.p.adusta:
- Ethiopia
P.p.ciscaucasia:
- West Caspian
P.p.dathei:
- Iran
P.p.delacouri:
Indochinese Leopard - Indo-China
P.p.fusca:
Indian Leopard - Indian Sub-continent
P.p.japonensis:
North China Leopard - North Central China
- Sinai Penninsula (REGARDED AS EXTINCT)
Sri Lanka Leopard - Sri Lanka (HIGHLY ENDANGERED)
P.p.leopardus:
- West Africa
P.p.melanotica:
- Southern Africa
P.p.melas:
Javan Leopard - Java
P.p.millardi:
- Kashmir
P.p.nanopardus:
Somali Leopard - Somalia, Ethiopia
Arabian Leopard - Israel, Oman (HIGHLY ENDANGERED)
Amur Leopard - Amur, Korea (HIGHLY ENDANGERED)
P.p.panthera:
- Algeria, Egypt
P.p.pardus:
- East Central Africa
P.p.pernigra:
- Nepal, Kashmir
P.p.reichenowi:
- Cameroon
P.p.ruwenzorli:
- East Central Africa
P.p.saxicolor:
Persian Leopard - Iran, Afghanistan
P.p.sindica:
- South West Africa
P.p.suahelica:
- Eastern Africa
Anatolian Leopard - Turkey, Syria, N Lebanon (HIGHLY ENDANGERED)

Habitat:
Areas with trees, broken terrain, thickets and other heavy vegetation for camouflage, for both protection and hunting.

Biomes: tropical rainforest, tropical deciduous forest, tropical scrub forest, tropical savanna & grasslands

Range:
Oriental, Ethiopian: Africa south of the Sahara; Asia.

Life Cycle:
Breeding can occur throughout the year in Africa and India, but is mainly confined to January and February in China and southern Siberia. The oestrous cycle averages about 46 days, and heat lasts for six or seven days. Males and females are known to form hunting pairs during the mating season, and may even stay together for a short period of time after mating. One to four, usually two or three, cubs are born in a cave, rock crevice, or hollow tree after a gestation period of 90 - 105 days. They weigh between 14 and 25 oz at birth, and are covered with dark, woolly fur peppered with indistinct spotting. Their eyes open between seven and ten days, and they begin to walk around two weeks of age. Weaned at three or four months, the young separate from their mother between 18 - 24 months. Females reach sexual maturity at an average of 33 months, while males take 24 - 36 months.

Food & Hunting:
Leopards prey mostly on animals about their size, especially ungulates, but they also feed on rodents, birds and even insects. It is also not uncommon for a leopard to kill an animal much larger than itself. Other prey species include gazelles, wildebeest, deer, wild goats, monkeys, porcupines, rabbits, various birds and even insects. Carrion is also taken, as is domestic stock. Leopards often store carcasses in the forked branches of trees. This allows the meal to be eaten at leisure without being bothered by various four legged scavengers always on the lookout for a meal. Hunting technique varies according to habitat of home range. (forest areas=ambush, open plains=stalking).

Behaviour:
Predominantly nocturnal in many areas. Solitary animals, but will hunt with consort, and female with cubs, otherwise will not tolerate other leopards.

Conservation:
All wild cats receive some protection under the Convention on Trade in Endangered species. Limiting factor on populations of leopards is people. Leopards do well in captivity and are popular attractions in zoos, where they may live up to 21 years.

Similar Species:
Panthera onca - Jaguar

Other Details:
Occasionally preys on domesticated stock and humans.

References:
Brakefield, Tom. Big Cats: Kingdom of Might. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 1993
Alden, Peter. National Audubon Society Field Guide To African Wildlife. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1995
Nowak, Ronald. Walker's Mammals Of The World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999

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Database Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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