Leopards belong to the family Felidae which also includes other big cats such as lions, tigers and medium sized cats such as the lynx and caracal. Leopards are classified in the genus Panthera, and are one of the 5 species alive today.
Currently, there are 8 subspecies of leopards documented to date:
- African Leopard (Panthera pardus pardus)
- Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)
- Arabian leopard ( Panthera pardus nimr)
- Indian Leopard ( Panthera pardus fusca)
- Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri)
- Javan leopard ( Panthera pardus melas)
- Persian / Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana)
- Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya)
Leopards are most common in sub-Saharan Africa while a smaller population exists on the Indian subcontinent. The leopard is ambush hunter, meaning that it stalks its prey by closing as much distance between itself and its prey before pouncing on it. It usually kills larger prey by clamping down on its throat and suffocating it. It incapacitates smaller prey by a bite to the back of the prey’s neck.
Leopards have a very stocky and robust build, with a massive skull and strong jaw muscles. As a result, it can drag carcasses heavier than itself up into the trees. However, leopards often have to contend with other big cats such as lions, cheetahs and other predators like hyenas and black bears. These animals can steal kills from leopards, if the leopard is unable to move its kill up into the trees. Under the right circumstances, these animals may also kill leopard curds and also incapacitate adult leopards.
- Scientific Names of the Most Common Animals and Plants
- Mammalia – Characteristics and Classification Of Mammals
- Herbivorous & Carnivorous Animals – Characteristics & Examples
Explore more interesting topics on leopards or other fascinating animals by registering with BYJU’S Biology
Frequently Asked Questions on
What is the scientific name of Leopard?
The scientific name of leopard is Panthera pardus
Is a cheetah a leopard?
No, they are two entirely different species.