Leopard, Africa and Asia, up to 1.5 m (5 ft) long, excluding tail Leopards are a type of big cat from Africa and parts of Asia. They live in both savanna grasslands and rainforest. Most leopards have cream and gold fur with black rosette-like markings. Their colouring allows them to blend into the surrounding trees. The snow leopard has white fur, while the clouded leopard has marbled markings. Leopards are fierce, solitary hunters, seizing most of their victims by stealth. Some have dark fur but with the same, spotted markings, making them look almost completely black. These individuals are known as black panthers.
Leopards are solitary animals. Hunting at night, they carefully stalk their prey, for example, antelope, gazelle or deer, using their excellent senses of hearing and smell, before lunging at it with their powerful jaws. Good swimmers and nimble climbers, they can also run fast, reaching speeds of nearly 60 km/h (37 mph) in short bursts.
A leopard with its kill in a treeThe leopard will eat nearly any animal that it can catch, including, as well as a wide range of mammals, fish, birds and even insects. Sometimes, it will leap down on to its victim from above, then drag the kill back up into the tree to keep it safe from hyenas, where it then devours it. A leopard can drag prey more than twice its own weight into a tree.
A leopard’s tail is almost as long as its entire body. The long tail helps it balance and make sharp turns at speed.
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