Leopards are a part of the big cats with their golden, spotted bodies and elegant, however they have vicious hunting techniques. Leopards are commonly considered to be an African species, but they can be found all over the world. Despite their broad spectrum, their population is declining.
Leopards are bigger than domestic cats, but they are the smallest of its big cat species. They only reach a length of 0.92 to 1.90 meters. Their tail lengthens them by another 0.64 to 0.99 cm). The weight of females and males differs. Females are generally 21 to 60 kilograms, while males are typically weight 36 to 75 kg.
Leopards are predators who are not picky about what they eat. Gazelles, cheetah offspring, baboons, rats, primates, reptiles, large birds, fish, antelopes, warthogs, and porcupines are among the animals they would feed on. Leopards are ambush hunters, meaning they crouch down to approach and pounce on their victim before it had the chance to respond. A leopard can kill its prey by snapping its neck with a single swift bite.
Leopards have a three-month pregnancy and generally give birth to a litter of 2 to 3 cubs inside a den. Each cub is born blind and just about hairless, weighing just 500 to 600 grams. They eat exclusively from their mom and will not exit the den before they are three months old. The offspring can live on their own between 12 to 18 months, and at two to three years old, they will have their own cubs. Leopards survive in the wild for 12 to 15 years.
Leopard habitats are diverse. Leopards can be found in tropical forests, vegetation plains, deserts, and alpine regions, but they can also be found close to major cities like Mumbai and Johannesburg. Leopards ignore grassland and prefer riparian forest and koppies. Prey distribution is most likely behind the preference for riparian woodland.
Leopards use several communication mechanisms, including vocalizations, body postures, and chemical communication, identical to most cat species. When guiding her cubs elsewhere, the mother uses her tail as a visual guide, and when she returns to them, she greets them with a chuffing sound made up of three or more short, sharp puffs. Leopards often have a distinctive hoarse, rasping cough that they use to announce their presence as they move across their array or territory. Leopards can be heard purring loudly during or just after eating. Range limits, like those of lions, are clearly defined by scent or announced by making specific sounds.
Leopards face major threats across Africa, including habitat conversion and extreme persecution, especially in retaliation for real or perceived livestock losses. In 91 percent of their current range, lions and leopards are sympatric. According to a recent study, the amount of available prey of appropriate size allows for resource partitioning among lions and leopards, enabling their coexistence. Leopards’ ability to climb a tree might have been an especially valuable adaptation that allows them to live side by side with lions without actually segregating them.