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Anonymous C. 2012.

Created By: Brooke Adams
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African Leopards

Panthera pardus

[1] STATUS: ENDANGERED

[2] Leopards are medium-sized nocturnal cats found throughout most of Africa and Asia from the middle east to the Soviet Union, Korea, China, India, and Malaysia, in a variety of habitats including forests, mountains, grassland and deserts. Due to their highly adaptable hunting and feeding behavior, African Leopards are the most widespread of all of the big cats, occupying a wide range of habitats, including forests, savannahs, grasslands, thin bush, deserts, rain forests, and mountains. Leopards prefer to hunt gazelle, impala, and other deer, dragging their kill high into a tree before dining, though they will also hunt birds, monkeys and rabbits if the opportunity presents itself.

Leopard coats are typically tan (though their colors a range from pale yellow to gray to chestnut) with circles of black spots. Large black spots cover the leopard's white belly, while the head, chest and throat are marked with small black spots. Unlike the South American Jaguar's rosettes, the circles have no center spot. Black, or melanistic, leopards are common, especially in dense forests.

Black Leopards are often referred to as 'panthers', however there is no cat officially known as panther. "Panthera" is actually the genus name for all the big cats (lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars). Upon close inspection, their black spots are visible on the background of black. In addition to the leopard, the Jaguar of South America is also known to produce black individuals.

Range: Africa, Asia Minor, Middle East, India, Pakistan, China, Siberia, South-East Asia
Habitat: Forest, savanna, grassland, thin bush, desert, rain forests, mountains
Life expectancy: 8 to 12 years in the wild, 12 to 20 in captivity
Size: 5 to 7 feet, including tail; 30 to 42 inches at shoulder
Weight: Males average 150 pounds, females 75 pounds

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