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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit www.southafricaholiday.org.uk

SOUTH AFRICA HOLIDAY: LEOPARD

Leopards (Panthera pardus) are one of the prize sightings on a South African safari. Stealthy and elusive, they are also surprisingly well camouflaged. The twitch of a tail may be the only give-away to a leopard resting in the branches of a tree.

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Leopards have the most widespread distribution of all the cats and can be found in Africa, India, China, Siberia and Korea. The African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) are generalist predators and able to live in any habitat where there is sufficient cover and prey, including open savannah, forests and mountainous regions.
South Africa Holiday: Leopard
Leopards typically are a light tan colour with a rosette-patterned coat and a long tail. They have a large skull and massive jaw muscles.
The head/body length is 95-167cm, with a shoulder height of 50-75cm. There can be considerable variation in size depending on location (weight can range from 30-80kg ). Generally males are 20-40 per cent larger than females. Particularly large individuals of over 91kg have been recorded in the Kruger National Park, where prey is larger.
South Africa Holiday: Leopard
Leopards can live for 10-15 years in the wild, although in captivity, they can live for up to 20 years.
Leopards lead a solitary lifestyle. Males inhabit territories of 5 to 40 square km, which may overlap with the territories of several females. They are very defensive of their territory and urinate around the boundaries to warn off intruders. They are most active between sunset and sunrise.

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BBC Science & Nature
Leopards often take their kills up into the safety of tree branches, to avoid the attention of hyenas and lions. They are incredibly strong and are capable of lifting carcasses three times their own body weight, placing them on branches over 6m high. There have been several reports of leopards hauling young giraffes into trees.
South Africa Holiday: Leopard
They have a number of prey items, including antelopes, monkeys, jackals, insects, rodents, hares and snakes. They will kill small competitors such as jackals and wild cats; and the cubs of lions, cheetahs and hyenas. Leopards can live independently of water for long periods of time, obtaining liquid from their prey.
South Africa Holiday: Leopard
Females give birth after a gestation period of 90-105 days. Litters are usually 2-4 cubs. The cubs are born blind and are weaned at three months but stay with their mother until they are 13-18 months old. 40-50 per cent of cubs do not reach adulthood. The father plays no part in the rearing of his cubs.
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