The Leopard – Panthera Pardus – Is another of the Big Cat Species and in South Africa it is known to be the smallest member of the Big 5 (The big 5 is a term coined by hunters used for the 5 most difficult animals to hunt on foot)
They weigh in at around 60-70kg for an average male.
Widespread throughout Africa – Except for the Sahara Dessert, they are also found in the southern parts of the Middle East, India and Southern parts of Asia. Smaller Leopards are found in the Cederberg and Boland known as the Cape Leopard. With Cape Leopards females weigh around 20kg and males average at about 35kg.
Leopards are known to drag their prey up a tree to keep it safe from other predators. It has been found that Leopards can drag prey of 2-3 times their own body weight up trees and some smaller prey up to a height of 15meters. And there you were thinking that fine dining on rooftop restaurants was something invented in Manhattan!
Leopards live solitary lives and males and females only come together for mating.
Leopard cubs are taught to hunt by their mothers and at around 13 months they are skilled enough to hunt on their own.
What happened to the spots? If you look carefully you will still be able to see the rosettes in the fur. The reason for the black coat is that a mutation in the gene responsible for balancing / regulating the production of melanin causes an over production of the black pigment melanin that is supplied to the hair itself.