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
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.
Leopards can live for 10-15 years in the wild,
although in captivity, they can live for up to 20
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.
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.
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.
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.