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The Leopard
leopard Leopards are solitary creatures and predominately nocturnal. Each individual has a home range that overlaps with its neighbors; the male's range is much larger and generally overlaps with those of several females.
The most secretive and elusive of the large carnivores
leopard_with_cub

Parks Where Found

Physical Characteristic

  • The most secretive and elusive of the large carnivores
  • The leopard is also the shrewdest
  • The strongest climber of the large cats
  • Leopards have a light buff or tawny in warmer, dryer areas to a dark shade in deep forests. The spots, or rosettes, are circular in East African leopards but square in southern African leopards.

Natural Environment

Leopards like dense bush in rocky surroundings and riverine forest but leopards adapt to many places in both warm and cold climates. Their adaptability, in fact, has helped them survive the loss of habitat to increasing human settlement. Leopards are primarily nocturnal, usually resting during the daytime in trees or thick bush. The spotted coat provides almost perfect camouflage.

Behaviour

Leopards continually move about their territory, seldom staying in an area for more than two or three days at a time. Ranges are marked with urine and claw marks and leopards announce their presence to other leopards with a rasping cough. Leopards also growl, roar and purr.

Diet

  • Mammals such as rodents, hares, hyraxes, warthogs, antelopes, monkeys and baboons
  • Reptiles and birds
  • Leopards store their larger kills in trees where they can feed on them in relative safety to avoid other predators

Predators and Threats

Leopards have long been preyed upon by man. Their soft, beautiful fur has been used for clothing. The tail, claws and whiskers of the leopard are popular as fetishes. In some areas farmers try to exterminate them, while in others leopards are considered symbols of wisdom.

Facts for Fun

  • The elegant, powerfully built leopard has a long body, relatively short legs and a broad head. Its tawny coat is covered with dark, irregular circles called "rosettes."
  • Both lions and hyenas will take away a leopard's kill if they can. To prevent this leopards store their larger kills in trees where they can feed on them in relative safety
Carnivores

Hyena

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