form a species of carnivorous mammals belonging to the cat family. Leopard (aka leopard) is a representative of the genus panther. Studies show that the ancestors of leopards appeared in Asia. And only then the African continent was settled, where later the modern leopard developed.
Leopard is a large cat, which is characterized by elongated, muscular body, slightly compressed laterally. Head round, ears small, rounded. The leopard has strong limbs and a long tail. The wool of leopards is thick, its length depends on the time of the year. The general background color varies from light to dark (there are even almost black leopards). The fur is endowed with black spots. Each individual has a unique arrangement of these spots, which is sometimes used for identification.
Leopard predominantly leads a nocturnal life. Representatives of this species are kept alone. The leopard is well-developed all external senses. The exception is the sense of smell. The roar of a leopard can spread for several kilometers (especially when it comes to mountainous terrain). The voice of representatives of this species consists of alternating high and low sounds.
The pregnancy of the leopard female lasts about three months, after which one or two (less than three) cubs appear, which reach their puberty after two and a half years. The lifespan of leopards in the wild varies on average between ten and eleven years. In captivity they can live up to twenty-one years.
The reduction in leopard numbers is steady. In the last century, the leopard was recorded in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Leopard is listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Leopon is a hybrid of a lioness and a leopard male. Yagopard is a hybrid of the leopard female and male jaguar.
Leopard is a representative of the genus Panthera.
For the first time the leopard was scientifically described by the Swedish naturalist Karl Linnaeus (1707-1778) in his scientific work. To the genus Panthera leopard, however, was attributed only in 1929.
The ancestors of a leopard come from Asia.
Studying the evolution of this species makes it possible to draw such a conclusion. The data were obtained mainly due to the analysis of the found fossil remains. Of great importance were the studies in the field of molecular phylogenetics. With the help of fossil remains, an approximate time of the appearance of the ancestors of the leopard was obtained – it happened about 3.8 million years ago. The data of molecular-phylogenetic analysis fully confirm the close connection between representatives of the genus Panthera. In addition, this kind of analysis suggests that the leopard, much earlier than the jaguar and the lion, separated from the common ancestral line. Scientific publications record the fact that it was Asia that became the birthplace of the ancestor of a leopard. Already later he settled on the African continent. The time of the emergence of a modern leopard is supposedly from 470 000 to 825 000 years ago. Place of origin – Africa. A little later, the leopard settled Asia.
Different leopards are characterized by different masses and sizes.
These parameters depend on the geographical environment of the leopards. Individuals whose habitat are open areas are larger and larger in weight, compared to individuals whose habitat is forest areas. The body length of leopards (without taking into account the length of the tail) varies from ninety to one hundred and ninety centimeters. The length of the tail itself varies from sixty to one hundred and ten centimeters. Female (weight is 40-65 kilograms) is about a third inferior in size in front of males (the mass is 60-80 kilograms). Very rare are males, whose mass reaches one hundred kilograms.
For adults, leopards tend to have thirty teeth.
As, however, for most other representatives of the feline. Upper jaw – six incisors, two canines, three premolars, one molar.The lower jaw is six incisors, two canines, two premolars and one molar. On the sides of the long tongue, leopards have special hillocks. Their purpose is to separate the meat from the skeleton of the victim. The tubercles are covered with cornified epithelium.
Leopards are endowed with a short thick coat.
Summer fur is less dense and shorter than winter fur. For example, in the Far Eastern species of a leopard by the winter season, the wool grows to a length of seven centimeters. The coloration of leopard fur can be as yellowish and gray (in Central Asian subspecies), and rusty-brown. The Far Eastern subspecies has a reddish-yellow tone of fur color. The color of the younger individuals is lighter. The main background of fur is a greyish-yellow color, and sometimes even dirty-white.
Leopard is a spotted beast.
Black spots of small and medium size are scattered on the legs, body, tail of leopards. Different leopards have different spots, for example, Asian leopards have larger spots, and African leopards have fur with smaller black spots. In themselves, spots can be collected in outlets for 3-4 pieces or be solid – their location is unique for each individual (like fingerprints for a person). This characteristic feature of leopards is sometimes used by researchers to recognize in the wild nature of individual individuals of leopards. Spotted camouflage is necessary for the leopard to camouflage during hunting.
Leopards-melanists – black panthers.
Occur in Southeast Asia. However, to assume that the skin of these panthers is completely black is erroneous, since it is always possible to notice spots appearing on it. The dark fur of these leopards is necessary for camouflage in dense thickets of forest. It is interesting that black individuals of panthers can be born in the same brood with young, which have a normal color. As a rule, panthers are more aggressive than other leopards.
The distribution of the leopard is very wide.
The historical distribution of this species covered a large part of Africa (with the exception of the Sahara Desert), Transcaucasia, Asia, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, China, and the islands of Java, Sri Lanka and Zanzibar. Nowadays in some territories the leopard does not occur or has already died out. These territories include Zanzibar, the Sinai Peninsula. In other areas, the distribution range of leopards was divided into separate populations. Many of them are at a considerable distance from each other. In the Russian Federation, leopards live in the Ussuri region. They can be found in the North Caucasus. Leopards can be found on the African continent and in the jungle, and in semi-deserts, and in the savannahs, and in the mountains. They spread throughout the territory from Morocco to the Cape of Good Hope. Leopards in Africa did not settle only the most arid regions of Namibia and the Sahara desert.
Leopard is a single beast.
The area of an individual plot can be as much as eight square kilometers (this is relatively small), and it can reach up to four hundred kilometers. The area depends on the region, the abundance of food, and the relief.
A leopard can attack a person.
It is extremely rare if a person does not present a danger to the leopard. If the individual is injured by a hunter, then attacks can not be avoided; its results can be fatal. Cannibals among leopards are much less common than, for example, among tigers or lions.
Leopards-cannibals are sick or old individuals.
Lento cannibals are very, very rare. Indeed, these are predominantly diseased or old individuals that physiologically can not hunt ungulates. For example, a case is known (occurred in the twenties of the last century), when one leopard from India had one hundred twenty-five only officially confirmed murders of people. “Rudraprayagsky ogre” acted as follows: under the cover of night, went into the village and attacked people right in their huts or courtyards.In addition to old and sick leopards, cannibals can become representatives of this species that have suffered from porcupine needles and become disabled due to this. Such individuals lose their mobility. The latter leads to the fact that the leopard is not able to hunt the usual prey and becomes a cannibal.
Extraction of a leopard can be very large.
The mass of the victim can reach nine hundred kilograms. And this despite the relatively small size of the leopard itself. Representatives of this species perfectly climb trees. Often the tree becomes a place for daytime rest. Sometimes the leopard freezes on it, waiting for prey, but mostly hunts after all on the ground. The leopard operates as follows: stealthily creeps up to the chosen victim and freezes at a jump distance to her. Choosing the right moment, the leopard jumps on the victim and begins to choke it. However, if the leap was unsuccessful, then the leopard does not rush into the pursuit of prey. If the extraction is large, then after the delicacy the leopard enters the remains on the tree. This is necessary to save production. There are cases when representatives of the leopard species were not hiding to catch prey, but instead they began to pound loudly with their paws. After this procedure, the leopards faded away, and the perplexed victim simply did not know which side was in danger.
The leading place in the diet of leopards belongs to ungulates.
These are roe deer, antelope, deer, etc. During the period of feeding, leopards can eat birds, monkeys, and rodents. Sometimes reptiles become the victims of leopards. From attacks of leopards suffer wolves and foxes. Representatives of the species of leopards do not disdain carrion. Often they even steal prey from other predators, or from their fellow humans.
Leopards have the ability to year-round reproduction.
Not quite right. This ability is possessed by leopards inhabiting the southern regions of habitat. And, for example, in the Far East, estrus, i.e. period of sexual activity in leopard females, takes a period from the end of autumn and before the beginning of winter. A leopard, who can be called even a silent beast (he seldom gives his voice), during the estrus period violates this his “life setting” – the roar of the males is accompanied by fights. The duration of pregnancy in leopards is three months. The cubs are born blind. Usually a female has one or two cubs, sometimes three. The role of shelter for newborn cubs is clefts, caves – the main thing is that the place is sheltered and secluded. Sexual maturity young leopards reach at the age of two and a half years (females even a little earlier than this). Interestingly, leopards grow and reach puberty much faster than tigers.
The number of leopards is decreasing.
And this process occurs on the whole range of the species habitat. The reduction is steady. The main threat to leopards is the reduction of the forage reserve and the change in natural habitats. In addition, a large number of leopard specimens are shot annually for the needs of eastern medicine. When an important problem was the trade in leopard skins, which caused the death of many representatives of this species. However, in our time, this kind of trade has receded into the background.
Leopard is a coveted hunting trophy.
Long time hunting for leopard individuals was carried out throughout the range of the species. Most massively, the leopard was exterminated in the past and the century before last – the houses of aristocrats in different parts of the globe were often decorated with scarecrows and leopard skins. Since our days, hunting for leopards is prohibited. In principle, the ban does not interfere with the prosperity of poaching, which covers many areas. Moreover, in some countries of the African continent there are legal hunting safaris, where absolutely anyone who wants for a fee can ambush a leopard from an ambush.
Amur (Far Eastern) leopards on the verge of extinction.
The population of these leopards at this time is in a very critical condition. According to data for 2007, its number is only 25-34 individuals. In addition, approximately one hundred representatives of the Far Eastern leopard are in different zoos in the world. One of the most important ways to preserve the population of Amur leopards is to breed them in captivity.
Poaching is the main reason for such a dangerous decline in the number of Amur leopards.
The main reason is also the violation of the area, which is due to the creation of networks of railways and highways, the expansion of logging operations. Forest fires and a decrease in the number of ungulates are important. Neighboring crosses also do not have a positive effect. Experts believe that in order to bring the Amur leopard population out of such a critical situation, it is necessary to think about creating a single security area in Primorye (where only the Amur leopard lives now), because individual reserves can not cope with such a major task. In the early times, the Far Eastern leopard inhabited the entire territory of Primorye, China and North Korea.
Leopon is a hybrid of a lioness and a leopard male.
For the first time officially existence of a leopon was fixed in 1910 in India. In the middle of the last century, such a hybrid purposefully bred in zoos in Germany, Italy, Japan. Hybrids are not capable of reproduction. The leopon looks like this: the head looks like a lion’s, and the other parts of the body are similar to leopards. The sizes of leoponds are between the sizes of leopards and lions. Male leopon can be endowed with a mane, whose length reaches twenty centimeters. The skin of leoponds is spotty, but the spots are much more often brown than black. The tail of a leopon, like a lion, has a tassel.
Smoke leopard leopard subspecies.
The smoky leopard also belongs to the cat family, lives in southeast Asia, but is a separate species. The smoky leopard is only remotely similar to the leopard. C is read by an ancient species, which probably gave rise to the current large feline. The length of the body of the smoky leopard is approximately ninety centimeters, and the tail is eighty centimeters. Weight varies from twenty to thirty kilograms. The general background of the coat is yellowish, on which large black spots are scattered.