Picture of a Lion Chasing a Hyena

Leopard

The Leopard is built like a middle weight boxer. It is the most powerful felid for its size, second only to the Jaguar. Its natural abilities include swimming, infamous stealth, amazing agility, capability to climb down trees head first and it possesses extrememly acute hearing and eyesite. This animal is always alone.

Panthera Pardus

Originally, it was thought that the Leopard was a hybrid between a lion and panther, hence its name leo (lion) and pard (panther). It is many cases the panther of of the Eastern hemisphere. The Leopard is the smallest of the four "Big cats". They are tipically found to be just over two meters (6.5 ft) long and may weigh anywhere from 30-70 kg (65-115 lb.). Though some males grow to weigh as much as 90 kg (200 lbs). For its size leopards are the most powerful felines in the world next to jaguars. They reign as apex predators in places where lions and tigers supress them. They are easily identified by their light tan or fawn coats with is well dotted with black rosettes.

Leopards are among the most widely distributed of the felids. Their territories range from Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Minor, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, China, Siberia, much of mainland South-East Asia and the islands of Java and Sir Lanka. Leopards are among the most least endangered of the Big Cats, with a poppulation of about 500,00 worldwide (a very high number among large cats).

The Leopards abilities of camafloge and stealth are legendary. They can easily live within very close proximity with humans without detection and often prey on domestic animals such as "Man's Best Friend". The Leopardis built like a middle weight boxer and has unprecedented agility. It can swim, climb down trees headfirst and have extremely acute eyesight and hearing. This animal is always alone, its God-given abilities allowing it to survive without the need for counterparts. They tipically take refuge when encountered by a predator the size of a lion or tiger. There main sources of food include antelope, deer and warthogs. Bears and Gorillas are sometimes preyed upon, but often avoided because of their size, sharpteeth and aggressive.

Like the North American Mountain Lion, they are soley opportunistic hunters. The will devour nearly anything that flesh on it (fish, birds, wild pigs, amphibians, reptiles, monkeys and rodents. When they successfully hunt antelopes they carry their kill up into trees before feed. They are capable of dragging up animals up to twice their own weight. They only hunt humans when driven to extreme hunger or injured to the point where they can no longer hunt their typical prey. In one case, in India a individual dubbed the "Panar Leopard" killed over 400 people. She was eventually slain by the legendary hunter Jim Corbett.

By Marcel Raphael.
Voice over by Dr. Brian Child, associate professor of the Department of Geography in the University of Florida.
Copyright 2006.