I’ve been fascinated by these big cats since seeing them in Africa some years ago. Today, I’d like to share some fascinating facts about leopards.
Just the Facts
Although the smallest cat in the Panthera genus (lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard), the leopard can bring down prey that is larger than itself.
Leopards are the most adaptable of the big cats and can live in habitats that range from:
- Mediterranean scrub,
- bamboo thicket
- cultivated land
They are the only cats that have both desert and rain forests as their habitat. They have spots to help them blend into their surroundings.
How Well do Leopards See at Night?
Leopards have large eyes and can see at night in light that is only 1/6th of what a human needs! They hunt day or night, when game is available.
Their eyes are in a forward position (versus a cow’s on either side of the face); this means that they have binocular vision. They can focus both eyes on a single thing and judge distances.
The Leopard’s Solitary Life
The largest family unit in a leopard’s realm is the mother cat and her cubs (between 1 and 4, with twins being the norm). Once the male leaves his mother, he leads a solitary life. Why?
Unlike lions, the leopard is totally responsible for feeding himself. If he can’t hunt, the leopard will starve. Thus, he must stay injury-free.
This leads to some interesting situations. If lions, wild dogs or other large carnivores approach a feeding leopard, he will abandon the meal to avoid confrontation.
The mother leopard has this same instinct; at a kill, she will eat first. After having her fill, she lets the cubs feed.
Can Leopards Store Food?
In a way, they do. Leopards carry their prey to sheltered places or in trees (!) to avoid other scavengers that do not climb high in trees (lions and hyenas).
Leopards particularly like to drape (even heavy) prey across a high tree limb, to keep their meal away from other carnivores (animal-eating predators).
There are lots of books with the basics about leopards. However, I wanted to share some of my favorite facts about these sleek, gorgeous animals!
The only leopard hunting that goes on now is a “Photography Safari.”
‘On the Prowl’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com