> Physical description :
The African leopard varies in base color throughout Africa. Depending on the location and habitat, they can vary from reddish brown, through dark yellow to cream. African leopards are covered in black rosettes, usually without spots within them, the pattern of rosettes being unique to each individual. Male leopards are larger and heavier than females.
> Diet and Hunting :
Leopards have a very varied diet which includes insects, rodents, reptiles, and even large mammals, and will occasionally take domestic livestock
Livestock is the term used to refer to a domesticated animal intentionally reared in an agricultural setting to produce things such as food or fibre, or for its labour....
when other food is scarce. They are very strong and they have been known to carry prey many times their own weight (such as Blue Wildebeest
The Blue Wildebeest is a large ungulate mammal of the Bovid family and one of two species of wildebeest. It grows to 1.7 meters shoulder height and attains a body mass of up to 380 kilograms....
) up into trees to protect the carcass from scavengers. They are nocturnal and usually don’t hunt until dusk. However, they are opportunists and will hunt in the daylight when necessary.
Leopards are very stealthy and like to stalk close and run a relatively short distance after their prey. They kill through suffocation by grabbing their prey by the throat and biting down with their powerful jaws. They rarely fight other predators for their food because the risk of injury, which could prove fatal if it prevented hunting. Leopards can get some of their water from prey, but need to drink to survive.
> Behavior :
When a leopard stalks prey, it keeps a low profile and slinks through the grass or bush until it is close enough to launch an attack. When not hunting, it can move through herds of antelopes without unduly disturbing them by flipping its tail over its back to reveal the white underside, a sign that it is not seeking prey.
Leopards are basically solitary and go out of their way to avoid one another. Each animal has a home range that overlaps with its neighbors; the male's range is much larger and generally overlaps with those of several females. A leopard usually does not tolerate intrusion into its own range except to mate. Unexpected encounters between leopards can lead to fights.
Leopards growl and spit with a screaming roar of fury when angry and they purr when content. They announce their presence to other leopards with a rasping or sawing cough. They have a good sense of smell and mark their ranges with urine; they also leave claw marks on trees to warn other leopards to stay away.
Leopards continually move about their home ranges, seldom staying in an area for more than two or three days at a time. With marking and calling, they usually know one another's whereabouts. A male will accompany a female in estrus for a week or so before they part and return to solitude.
> Habitat :
African leopards inhabit a wide range of habitats within Africa
Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km? including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area....
, from mountainous regions to grasslands and savannas, excluding only extremely arid desert. However they are most abundant in undisturbed rainforest, where they are free from persecuation by humans. Leopards are most at risk in areas of semi-desert, where scarce resources often results in conflict with nomadic farmers and their livestock. Like most large mammals, they are generally absent in areas with a high population density of people.
* Did you know?
* The elegant, powerfully built leopard has a long body, relatively short legs and a broad head. Its tawny coat is covered with dark, irregular circles called "rosettes."
* Both lions and hyenas will take away a leopard's kill if they can. To prevent this leopards store their larger kills in trees where they can feed on them in relative safety.
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