Leopard (lat. Panthera pardus) - representative of the cat family, he has elongated, flexible, slender and at the same time a very strong body, rounded head, long tail, slender, very strong legs, long and very sharp claws. Leopard body is about 90-180 cm at length, the tail is about 65-110 cm, weight is 30-70 kg, sometimes there are leopards up to 100 kg. Leopards from tropical countries have thick, but not fluffy sufficiently bright fur. In the Far Eastern representatives of this species fur becomes fluffy in the winter, more thick, quite dim. In general coloration is yellow with different shades. Exactly on this background clearly visible solid black spots in the form of rings are scattered. Sometimes in tropical countries can be found animals-melanistic, so-called black panthers. Very often they meet on the island of Java. In one brood may appear as normal colored cubs, as mixed with black leopards. Leopard habitat is very extensive, it exceeds the teritory of distribution of any representatives of the cat family.
Leopard inhabits in the most part of Africa (except only the Sahara Desert), and southern Asia. If you take the territory of former USSR, a few years ago the leopard dwelt in the Caucasus, but now he sometimes appears only in the Transcaucasus. From time to time, the leopard meets in Central Asia, but most often he can be seen in the southern Primorye. Leopard lives in the dense subtropical, tropical and mixed Manchurian forests, plains and mountain slopes, in thickets and Savannah. Sometimes this predator lives near the settlements, leopards live alone and hunt at night.
Leopards perfectly climb trees, often stay there for rest, or in ambush, and sometimes catch the monkeys there. But mostly leopards hunt on the ground. Predator very cleverly creeps to his prey and catching it in several powerful jumps or waiting it in ambush near the animal path, over the path or, more often, near the waterhole. Mainly leopard eats relatively small different kinds of antelopes, roes, deers, and other cloven-hoofed, and in the case when they are absent - monkeys, rodents, birds, insects and even reptiles. Also, there were cases when hyenas, large boas and even crocodiles became leopard's prey, and also been noticed the leopard, who was fishing.
In the morning predator pulls remains of very large prey on a tree , to save it from the jackals and hyenas. Although a very old leopards do not disdain carrion themselves. Some leopards specialize in hunting on domestic livestock and dogs. Also there are cannibals among the leopard, although less often than among tigers and lions. But attacks on humans made by leopards sometimes even surpass tigers and lions, because of their audacity. The most famous cannibals were the leopard from the city of Rudraprayag, India - in the twenties of the 20th century, this predator for almost 10 years has killed 125 people, and also the leopard of Kumaon - which killed about 400 people. Both were shot by Jim Corbett - english hunter.
In the southern areas leopards copulate whole year, in the Far East - in January. Also like other cats, leopards copulation accompanied by loud males roar and fighting, although in everyday life, as a rule, leopards are more silent than lions and tigers. 3 months after copulation from 1 up to 3 cubs born. Babies are born blind, and have spotted coloring. Clefts, caves, holes under the roots of trees in the dense, secluded place become their dens. Young leopard growing much faster then tiger cubs and after only two years, they fully grow up and reach sexual maturity, in addition females - slightly earlier than males. Leopard fur is valued very highly at the international fur market.
Leopard has become a favorite trophy of hunters. Also, these predators are often prosecuted as dangerous and harmful animals. So every year abroad killed a huge amount of leopards, and in many places their existence is under very serious threat. By the way, as well as other predators, leopards in nature are important, because they kill disabled and sick animals, and restrain by this reproduction of some pests, namely monkeys.
Far Eastern leopard - a distinct subspecies of the leopard, which lives in the Far East. This is the rarest cat in the world. Now in the wild, there are by estimations of scientists about 30 individuals and about 100 individuals - in zoos.
Leopard has always been a respected animal and a lot of stories and legends were composed about him. He was associated with such concepts, as: cruelty, aggressiveness, ferocity, loyalty, fearlessness, courage, impetuosity, quickness. And for his ability to hide, to move noiselessly and kill his victims leopard was called - the invisible killer.
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