Ranging from Africa to China, India to Russia, these cats are very adaptable.
Leopards are solitary creatures, who depend solely on themselves for their survival. They are seldom affectionate and can become quite agressive. They hunt at night and prefer to eat monkeys, birds and other smaller animals, however, they will kill antelope and young zebras. They hide their kill in trees from lions and other animals.
Leopards are awesome in their extreme beauty and power. They are very muscular and can stalk, pounce and drag their prey effortlessly. Their average weight is between 80 and 200 pounds, measuring about 2 feet tall and 5 feet long. Truely a cunning and unique creature.
Their spotted patterned body serves as a perfect camoufloge whether in a tree or out in the open.
Lions have been known to kill leopard cubs and leave them. The leopard will actually bury her cubs. Having cubs is probably the only sign of affection she will show.
Leopards are considered to be close to extinction, and are on the endangered species list. There are over 20 subspecies of leopards. Eight subspecies are considered endangered, 4 on the verge of extinction.
Leopards are 10 times stronger than humans and can carry 3 times their body weight up into trees.
There are a variety of leopards: "Leopards" (both spotted and black), Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard are just a few.
The black leopard: "Black Panther" is the same species as the spotted leopard. Some leopards are melanistic, which produces a black fur. Their spots are visible, especially when light is on them. As melanism is a recessive gene, two black parents will produce black cubs, and two spotted can have black cubs. Mixed litters are common.
Snow Leopards: "Panthera uncia" live high in the central Asian mountains. Their heavy coats protect them from harsh Himalayan winters. Like the leopard, they are loners and excellant hunters.
They bear two to three cubs every other year. A leopard's gestation period is approximately 93 days. The cubs survival depends on the survival of their species.
They have a tail as long as 3 feet, with their body averaging in length about 4 to 5 feet. Averaging a weight from 60 to 100 pounds, with a grey or yellowish coat with large black rosette markings. This awesome beauty is on the endangered list due to poachers killing them off for their coats and human encroachment on their habitat. It is believed that only 5000 are left in the wild.
Clouded Leopards: "Panthera (Neofelis) nebulosa" This cat lives mostly in Southern and South Eastern Asia. This creature also hunts by night and is extremely adept in trees, pouncing on their prey from above.
Averaging in body weight of only 40 to 70 pounds, with a length of approximately six feet they are considered to be the lesser cat of the leopards. Their coats are from a pale to a rich brown with large non-uniform black patches. The Chinese have named this cat the "Mint Leopard". They say the cats unusual pattern resembles mint leaves.
These spectacular cats are also on the "endangered species" list.