Q:

What are some physical characteristics of a leopard?

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Quick Answer

Leopards have muscular bodies, short powerful limbs, white underbellies and tawny coats with black spots, known as rosettes. All leopards have unique rosette patterns, and their fur ranges from reddish-orange to pale yellow or tan. Their dark spots become solid around the head, limbs and chest. Small, rounded ears extend from the leopard's broad face, which also has long sensory whiskers around the muzzle and the eyebrows.

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Full Answer

The color of a leopard's fur varies by location and helps it blend in with local surroundings. For example, many desert leopards have creamy yellow or light brown fur, while leopards in cooler habitats often have a smoky gray tinge to their tawny fur. Occasionally, leopards are born with higher amounts of melanin in their genetic makeup and have completely black fur, making their spots harder to see.

Leopards are smaller than other big cats, but they take advantage of their compact size to move stealthily on land, in trees and in water. Average males weigh between 80 and 150 pounds, while females weigh 62 to 100 pounds, according to LiveScience. Leopards have strong jaws and paws, allowing them to kill prey quickly by breaking their necks. These robust felines can haul carcasses as heavy as three times their own body weight.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the maximum speed of a leopard?

    A:

    The highest speed that a leopard can reach is 60 kilometers or 37 miles per hour. Differences in height and weight can cause a leopard's maximum speed to be less.

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  • Q:

    What is a leopard's niche?

    A:

    The leopard's niche is that of an alpha predator, a carnivore that, in its adult state, has no natural enemies and no serious competitors outside other members of its own species. Leopards are large and strong enough to hunt dangerous game and to command extensive territories, competing only with other leopards over where they hunt and how far their territory extends.

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  • Q:

    What are a leopard's enemies?

    A:

    Leopards have many enemies in the wild, including hyenas, jackals, lions, tigers, bears and wild dogs. Humans are also a major threat to leopards due to urban sprawl, poaching and farmland defense. Leopards are solitary predators, so they lack the inherent protection afforded by sheer numbers.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between a cheetah and a leopard?

    A:

    Some differences between a cheetah and a leopard include their sizes, shapes and spots. Although the leopard and the cheetah are about the same height, the leopard can weigh nearly 30 pounds more than the cheetah.

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