What are African leopards
These large carnivores are powerfully built with long bodies, relatively short legs, and a broad head. There are nine subspecies and are distinguished by the unique characteristics of their coats, which range from tawny or light yellow in warm, dry habitats to reddish-orange in dense forests. Their coat is covered in dark, irregular spots called rosettes. These spots are circular in east African leopards, but square in southern African leopards.
Common Name: Leopards
Scientific Name: Panthera Pardus
Size: Head And Body: 4.25 To 6.25 Feet; Tail: 3.5 To 4.5 Feet
Weight: 66 To 176 Pounds
Leopards are carnivores and hunt small antelopes, warthogs, hyraxes and monkeys/baboons, their diet also includes birds and reptiles. They store their kill up trees to keep it safe from Lions and Hyenas.
They can be found in most of sub-Saharan Africa. Their habitat is wide and they can be seen in semi-arid land, scrubland, Bush, savannahs, mountain lowland rainforests, riverine forest and rocky outcrops. They like to sun themselves on termite mounds or rocky outcrops.
Size and Lifespan
Male leopards are larger than females, weighing up to 130-200 lbs, whilst females weigh between 75 and 88 lbs. They grow up to 2.3 meters long at stand approx 28 inches at the shoulder for adults. Generally they live for 15-20 years in the wild
Leopards breed all year round, and can have between 2 to 6 cubs. The females will raise the cubs by themselves. The gestation period is anything from 90-112 days and they will become independant adults at between 18 to 22 months. Leopard cubs are kept hidden for the first couple of months and at about 4 months old the mother starts to train the cubs to hunt small animals.
Predators and Threats
Humans have been and a remain the main threat to the survival of leopards, whose numbers, whilst currently numerous, are decreasing. Human induced habitat loss, fragmentation/degradation, hunting/gathering, pest control is having a continued impact in the survivals of leopards.
Safari Tip: When on safari and spotting leopards, look for what appears to be a short branch (moving slightly) hanging down from a large limb of a tree, this is how the leopard positions its tail when resting.