Basic Facts About Leopards

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats," the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar. There are nine recognized subspecies of leopard. All subspecies except the African leopard can be found in Asia, South Asia, and India.

Leopard, © Eric Gurwin

© Eric Gurwin

Diet

Leopards eat small hoofstock such as gazelle, impala, deer and wildebeast. On occasion, they may also hunt monkeys, rodents and birds. They often bring their prey up into the branches of a tree to eat it and protect it from other predators and scavengers.

Range

Did You Know?

Leopards are very agile, and can run at over 36 miles per hour, leap over 20 feet and jump up to 10 feet.

Leopards are found throughout most of Africa and Asia from the middle east to the Soviet Union, Korea, China, India, and Malaysia. Leopards live in a variety of habitats including forests, mountains, grassland and deserts.

Behavior

Leopards are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active at night. During the day, they rest in thick brush or in trees. Leopards are solitary, preferring to live alone. They are very agile and good swimmers. They are able to leap more than 20 feet.

Reproduction

Following a 90 - 105 day gestation, one to six kittens are born. The average litter size is two or three. Kittens weigh about one pound when they are born. They will stay with their mother for 18 to 24 months.

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