There are many fascinating big cats out there, but are there any quite as curious as the leopard? While some people may mix up these beasts with the cheetah, they are very much their own animal – and there’s probably plenty that many people don’t already know about them! That’s why we’ve set up this fact file – to help you clue in on some of the more intriguing bits and pieces about these critters.
Think you know your leopards inside out? Think you can tell one leopard from another by their spots alone? Time to test your knowledge – take a look through these interesting facts about leopards and see if there’s anything you might not already know about these curious cats.
Generally, you’ll find that leopards are lightly colored in terms of their fur, and that they will normally have markings across their skin. Many people refer to these as spots, but they are technically rosettes! That’s because they are not round in shape – they look like flowers.
Leopards are actually the smallest of what we would normally call ‘big cats’. They are much bigger than your average domesticated feline, however, they are only ever likely to be around 6 feet in length at biggest, and 3 feet long at smallest. Male leopards can weigh up to 165 pounds, while females tend to be slenderer at up to 132 pounds.
Leopards don’t tend to have any one particular habitat, particularly as you’ll find them scattered all over the globe. You’re likely to find a leopard or two across Africa, India, central Asia and further towards the east. It’s even possible that you’ll find leopards as far flung as Sri Lanka.
The leopard really isn’t fussy about where it lives. Therefore, you will find them living and thriving in habitats such as forests, woods, swamps, deserts and more. They tend to be more prolific than other big cats as we know them.
There are perhaps more leopards in artwork dating back centuries than any other big cat! This is hard to quantify of course, but the fact is, the leopard as a symbol or as an aesthetic choice is very popular. You’ll generally see them used in sports branding, too.
Leopards are always likely to beat humans when it comes to listening. That’s because their sense of hearing is five times better than our own!
Leopards have unique ways of communicating by generally adjusting the way that they speak to one another. They will cough when males want to warn others off their territories, while they will also purr – just like our own pets – when they are content. They share a lot of intricacies and tendencies with housecats, but you shouldn’t ever adopt a wild leopard – that goes without saying!
Despite leopards being fairly short in terms of the big cat average, they can leap across huge expanses. In fact, it’s thought that your average leopard can bound across six metres in a single spring.
They are also very, very nippy! You’ll find a leopard can speed away up to 58km an hour. There’s no outrunning these beasts any time soon – prey beware!
Believe it or not, leopards generally spend a lot of their time up in tall trees. That’s because they like to camouflage – their rosettes and colorings help to keep them hidden. It’s a great vantage point!
Leopards don’t tend to have a general gestation season, meaning that they can be born at any time of year. It’s common for leopard cubs to stay with their mothers constantly until around two years of age, when they will often head out and hunt on their own.
Leopards tend to cope very well without water. That’s because they are predisposed to swallow up plenty of moisture from their prey. They still drink when they need to, though perhaps not as much as many other mammals.
Sadly, leopards are listed as threatened species. They are on the IUCN Red List, which means that their populations are declining. This is largely thought to be as a result of overhunting. Hopefully, their numbers will start increasing again in the years to come.
Do you know any fun facts about leopards? Share them in the comments below!