Do you know some fun facts about leopards? Although these animals have a wide range of distribution, not many people see them. They are very shy and top-level predators. Bigger than the size of humans, they can easily kill small human kids. So be wary of these crazy creatures. This article contains a list of fun facts about leopards that will leave you astonished. Let’s start then!
Fun facts about leopards
#1. The words Leon and pardo make up their name
The Greek word leopardos is where the English word leopard comes from. The word leopardos was originally used to describe cheetahs. It is made up of the words Leon and pardo. Leon means “lion” in English, and pardos could mean “panther.” It comes from the Greek word pardalots, which means “spotted.”
#2. Their spots help them hide very well.
One of the most obvious fun facts about leopards is their morphology. They have groups of spots or rosettes on their bodies that help them blend in with their surroundings. Most of the time, their fur is a pale yellow to dark gold, and their bellies are white. With this colour and their spots, they are very good at hiding in the wild. They can blend in with the leaves of trees, bushes, and other plants. They can hide from both predators and prey because of how they look.
#3. The Amur leopard is one of the world’s rarest cats.
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus Orientalis) is a sub-species of leopard that is the rarest of all leopard subspecies. In 2007, reports said that there were only 19 to 26 of them left in the wild. This makes them one of the rarest cats on Earth. Since then, though, their populations have improved; as of 2019, there were up to 90 Amur leopards. This surely is among some interesting facts about leopards.
#4. Leopards are like jaguars and cheetahs in some ways.
Even though they look a lot like jaguars and cheetahs because they are the same colour and have spots on their fur, they are also very different in a lot of ways. These big cats are very different in size, where they live, how they act, and even how their spots look.
They live in many parts of Africa and Asia, from sub-Saharan Africa to some parts of East Asia. It also has people living it from Europe to Southeast Asia. Cheetahs, on the other hand, only live in Africa and Iran. Jaguars, on the other hand, live in the Americas. The jaguar is the biggest of the three. The leopard comes in second, and then the cheetah.
The body of cheetahs also shows a simple polka dot pattern. On the other hand, they have spots that come together in a small, polygonal, rose-like pattern (hence the name “rosette”), and jaguars have larger rosettes with spots in the middle. These are some of the most fun facts about leopards to remember.
#5. Leopards usually live close to trees.
Leopards make good use of trees in many of the places they live. They are the best climbers of all the big cats and spend the most time in trees. When they are scared or angry, they often hide in trees. They rest on the branches of the tree during the daytime so that they won’t be seen by other animals that could eat them.
Leopards also hang their kills from tree branches so that other predators like hyenas can’t steal them. Their big heads and strong jaws let them carry animals on tree branches that are bigger and heavier than they are, like young giraffes and rhinoceroses. When there aren’t many trees where they live, they like to eat shrubs and rocks instead.
#6. Leopards are animals that live alone.
They are usually solitary animals that like to hunt and rest on their own. Adult ones usually only get together to mate. They can find each other by their scent, and when they are ready to mate, the females give off certain chemicals called pheromones. Furthermore, they are very territorial and tend to stay away from each other, even when they are in captivity. They usually stay a half-mile (1 km) apart. Besides, they use their urine, poop, and claw marks to mark their territory.
#7. They can jump forward up to 20 feet.
Remember, they are such dangerous hunters because they can sneak up on their prey and are strong and fast. They cannot beat cheetahs in terms of speed, but they can go over 36 mph (58 km/h) at their fastest. In 2009, Usain Bolt, who was the fastest runner on Earth at the time, ran at a top speed of 44.72 km/h. They can also jump forward up to 20 feet (6 m). They can also jump up to 10 feet up in the air (3 m). So, those are some interesting facts about leopards.
#8. Leopards can swim very well.
They are not only good at climbing, but they can also swim well. They are among the few cats who don’t mind being in the water. Moreover, they can catch crabs, fish, and other things that live in the water when they swim.
#9. They know how to hunt well.
One of the most interesting things about leopards is that they are good hunters who mostly find their prey by using their sharp sight and hearing. Most of the time, these night hunters hunt on the ground. They hunt by hiding and sneaking up on their prey.
They usually follow their prey and try to get as close as they can without being seen. After that, they pounce on their prey and use their strong jaws and big teeth to bite down on their necks. For bigger animals, they may grab the necks of their prey and strangle them. More interestingly, some of them jump down from trees to attack animals that don’t see them coming.
#10. They don’t have specific food preferences.
Remember, they are opportunistic carnivores that eat a wide range of food depending on what’s available near their territories. They aren’t picky eaters. Similarly, they like to eat medium-sized animals like impalas, spotted deer, and bushbucks, but they also eat small and big animals. They may also eat monkeys, insects, bamboo rats, tufted deer, elands, and sometimes even young giraffes.
These fierce cats might also eat other meat-eating animals like cheetahs, jackals, genets, and foxes. In some cases, they may steal or scavenge the kills of hyenas and lions. On average, males eat about 3.5 kg of food a day, while females eat about 6 lb 3 oz (2.8 kg).
#11. Leopards and lions are very similar.
Recent studies of leopards’ genes show that lions are their closest relatives. Their fossils show that their ancestors lived about 2 to 3.5 million years ago, but it’s likely that they didn’t start to look like they do until about 0.5 to 0.8 million years ago in Africa. In the early part of the modern era, they spread from Africa to Asia.
#12. Big cats can produce offspring by mating with them.
Well! We believe among all the fun facts about leopards; this one is different. However, despite their reputation as vicious predators, they have been mated alongside other large cats in zoos. Leopards and lions have been known to reproduce successfully in captivity. Leopons are the offspring of male leopards and female lions.
On the other hand, Leopards are the offspring of an unmarried pair of lions and leopards, therefore the name. Tiger-jaguar crossbreeding produced jaguupards and leopard-leopard hybrids. Even if attempts to breed tigers and leopards have been made, all that has happened is stillbirth.
Despite the fact that pumas and leopards are distinct species, pumapards have been born. Leopard-like spots and a sort of dwarfism with small legs and a lengthy body were observed in pumapards that were recorded in the past.
#13. The Arabian leopard is the tiniest member of the leopard family.
The largest wild cats in the Arabian Peninsula are Arabian leopards (Panthera pardus nimr). Despite this, they’re the smallest leopard subspecies, with males measuring 72–80 in (182–203 cm) in length from head to tail. The typical length of a female is just 63–76 inches (160–192 centimetres). 66 lb (30 kg) for the males and 44 lb (20 kg) for the females. When compared to the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana), which may grow up to 102 inches (259 centimetres) long, it is the largest subspecies. This might surprise you if you were looking for some fun facts about leopards.
#14. In order to communicate, leopards have white spots on their ears and tails.
This one is going to be among the interesting facts about a leopard. Aside from vocalisations, experts believe that these animals use visual clues to communicate with one another. Scientists believe the white markings on the ears and tails of these animals help them communicate. To other members, they believe that the white tips of their tails are a signal of their presence.
#15. During the rainy season, they are most likely to mate.
Leopards, who are solitary animals, do not mate for life and often mate with numerous partners during their lives. When it comes to breeding, the rainy season in May is a good time for them to do so. On the other hand, leopards in Siberia and China breed more frequently in the months of January and February than anywhere else. At the age of two, they are sexually mature, and females stop reproducing after 8.5 years. It takes females 15 to 24 months to give birth to a child.
#16. Two to four cubs are typical.
They give birth to two to four cubs after a gestation period of 96 days. Caves, rock crevices, hollow tree trunks, and dens are all common places for these animals to give birth to their young. Four to nine days after birth, the cubs’ eyes do not open. They become more or less self-sufficient at one year of age, but they often remain with their moms for another 18 to 24 months. Many young ones, on the other hand, do not survive adulthood. Approximately 41–50% of them pass away within the first year of life.
#17. Leopards in the wild can live anywhere from 12 to 17 years on average.
Generally speaking, in the wild, they can live from 12 to 17 years of age in the wild. They can, however, survive much longer in captivity. Male Leopard in McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary in The Acreage, Palm Beach County (Florida), is the world’s oldest leopard ever found. Roxanne, a leopard who lived to be 24 years, two months, and thirteen days, passed away in 2014.
#18. The African leopard has the broadest geographic distribution of all the leopard species.
Among the fun facts about leopards is that the African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) (one of nine leopard subspecies) has the widest home range of them all. Most of Africa to the south of the Sahara is covered by this common subspecies of the African elephant. African subspecies can be found all over the continent, including in North Africa.
#19. Humans are a rare target for them.
They are less likely than lions and tigers to turn into man-eaters since they rarely approach humans. It is not uncommon for them to prey on monkeys and apes, but they avoid humans. Attacking cattle is a common way for them to conflict with humans. They will, however, attack humans if their typical prey species become rare.
#20. Once they’ve had a taste of human meat, they can acquire a liking for people.
This is one of the most alarming facts about leopards. As scavengers, they may consume the corpses of humans as an opportunistic source of food. It’s conceivable for them to develop a desire for human meat after they’ve had a taste of it (either from eating corpses or assaulting humans). Humans may be their sole source of food in some circumstances. The Leopard of Rudraprayag in India once ate a 14-year-old kid instead of the goats he was supposed to be protecting.
#21. At least 400 people died as a result of one leopard’s attack.
The Leopard of Panar, a male leopard who resided in Northern India, was one of the most notorious man-eaters. At least 400 people died as a result of his actions in the early twentieth century. When British hunter Jim Corbett killed the Leopard of Panar in 1910, he also killed the Leopard of Rudraprayag.
#22. In the wild, they encounter a lot of competition.
Yet another fun fact about a leopard is that they don’t have an easier life out there. Many other predators compete with wild leopards for territory in their natural environments. Cheetahs, African wild dogs, bears, hyenas, tigers and lions are just a few of the numerous enormous predators they face.
Lions and tigers rarely kill adult leopards, but bigger animals frequently prey on the young ones when there is scarce food. On the other hand, lions steal their prey from the limbs of trees. Moreover, Nile crocodiles also attack them while swimming or hunting near riverbanks.
#23. It is common for them to be hunted as trophies by humans.
Humans often hunt these majestic animals for their fur, which has striking patterns, in order to make coats, rugs, and other decorative items. Humans often target them because they are perceived as a danger to cattle by farmers. The body parts are also sought after by poachers for traditional medical purposes.
#24. The number of leopards is progressively dwindling.
As a result of their strong struggle with other large predators, habitat loss, and human disputes, they are now at risk of becoming extinct. Even though they are the most common large cat, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List indicates that nearly all subspecies of leopards are vulnerable to critically endangered. Many organisations dedicated to animal conservation are currently working to control leopard populations and keep them from going extinct. So, this one is yet another leopard fact among our list of facts about leopards.
#25. In order to survive, they don’t require a lot of water intake.
The animals can survive without water for days, one of the most astounding leopard facts. Leopards in the wild only drink water every two to three days and rely on the bodily fluids of their prey to meet their water needs. For their hydration requirements, leopards in the Kalahari Desert may consume moisture-rich vegetation. Succulents, watermelons, Kalahari sour-grass, and gemsbok cucumbers are a few of the plants on this list.
In the end, we hope that you enjoyed learning fun facts about leopards. They are surely wonderful creatures that one can see.
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Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.