Leopard Facts for Kids
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What is a Leopard?
A leopard is the a member of the felidae family or the “big cats” family. It is the smallest member of the ‘big cats” family. Scientific name for a leopard is Panthera Pardus. There are nine subspecies of leopard. Leopards are mammals. They are warm blooded animals and give birth to their babies.
Where Do Leopards Live?
Leopards live in most parts of Africa. They also live in parts of Asia. These parts include the Middle East, Soviet Union, Korea, China, Malaysia and India.
Leopards have the ability to adapt to a variety of habitats. This is why they can be found living in many places. They live in a variety of habitats including mountains, grasslands, deserts, savannas, forests. rain forests and on occasion even in urban areas. .
What Do Leopards Look Like?
Leopards can be 4.5 ft. – 6ft long with a tail that is 3.5-4.5 long. They are short, only about 2-4 feet tall. Leopards can weigh between 80-200 pounds. Females are a little bit smaller than males.
Leopards range in color from a pale yellow to a deep gold. Melanistic (dark colored pigment in the skin) leopards are black and often referred to as black panthers. Leopards have rosettes (rose-like markings) patterns on their fur. Leopard’s color and rosettes patterns go with their habitat. Leopards with paler coats live in desert habitats. Leopards with more rounder rosettes live in East Africa and leopards with squarer rosettes live in South Africa.
Leopards are solitary animals meaning they like to live alone. They are great climbers and swimmers. Leopards spend a lot of time in trees.
Leopards use their tails to help them balance when climbing. Not only can they climb trees, but leopards that live in mountainous areas can also climb the sides of mountains.
Leopards are agile meaning they are able to move quickly and easily. They are fast runners and can run 36 miles per hour. They can leap up to 20ft high.
Leopards usually live 10-12 years in the wild. They can live 23 years in captivity. You can see leopards living in captivity at many zoos around the U.S.
Leopards are carnivores meaning they eat meat. They eat a variety of animals. Leopards hunt whatever they can catch. Some animals they eat are boars, deer, impalas, gazelles. Sometimes they will eat fish, birds and rodents. Often times they will watch their prey from up in the trees where they can blend in with leaves, then they will pounce down to surprise their prey. After a leopard catches their prey they will sometimes carry it back up the tree to hide it in the leaves. They do this to keep it away from scavengers in between feedings.
Leopards like to hunt for food at night.
Leopards are mostly nocturnal meaning they are more active at night. During the day leopards are often seen resting in trees.
Leopards mostly stay away from people, but have attacked humans and dogs.
More Fun Facts about Leopards
A male leopard is called a leopard. A female leopard is called a leopardess. A baby is called a cub.
Female leopards give birth to usually 1-2 cubs. Cubs are born a grey color with very faint rosettes.
They are born blind and start to see in 10 days. Cubs live with their mothers for 2-4 years.
Mother leopards teach their cubs to swim, climb, hunt and how to protect themselves from predators.
Predators to leopards are adult chimpanzees and gorillas.
Leopards are a threatened species in Africa and endangered in other parts of the world.
We are losing leopards mostly because they are hunted. People hunt leopards for their whiskers and bones which some people believe can heal the sick. Leopards are also hunted for their beautiful fur. Some people use the leopards fur for rugs, coats and other things.
Leopards are also a threatened species due to loss of habitat.
Also Check out Snow Leopard Facts for Kids