How Do Leopards Reproduce?

Leopards reproduce sexually through the mating of males and females. Females come into heat every couple of months for a period of 6 to 7 days, during which they can conceive.

Gestation in leopards lasts between 90 and 105 days before the cubs are born. Leopard litters range from one to six cubs, though the average is two to three, and each cub weighs 1 to 2 pounds. Cubs are born blind with closed eyes and open their eyes at 4 to 9 days old. They stay hidden when their mother roams until they reach 6 to 8 weeks old and can follow her. Female leopards nurse their cubs for three months before weaning them, and the cubs stay with their mother for a total of roughly 18 to 24 months.

Leopards reach sexual maturity between 2 and 3 years old, and males leave their mothers completely to live mostly independent lives. Female leopards stay closer to home, even developing territories that overlap with their mother's. Heats begin again after the previous litter has left home, and a female's reproductive years last throughout most of her life, which can stretch over 20 years in captivity. In the wild, leopards are more likely to live between 10 and 15 years.