Timescale: 5.33 million years ago – present.
Range: Sub Saharan Africa, Middle East, South/South East Asia & Siberia.
Lifespan in Wild: 12 – 17 years.
Size: Adult Male , 45-80cm at Shoulder Height
Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Similar in appearance to the Jaguar, the Leopard is one of the smaller big cats, with a larger skull, longer body and shorter legs. Whilst they show a great diversity on coat colour, Leopards are generally characterized by the presence of rosettes on their coats which differ in size and shape dependent on their habitat.
Leopards have the largest distribution of any wild cat, and despite their size, have been known to tackle much larger prey due their large skulls which facilitate sizeable jaw muscles. Well known for their ability to climb trees, Leopards are stealthy and agile predators, waiting in ambush for their prey before they pounce.
Leopards are generally thought to be solitary and nocturnal, however males and females have been known to spend numerous days together during mating. Recent studies have suggested that Leopards which inhabit the rainforests of SE Asia have more of a tendency to be crepscular (active at dawn at dusk) than nocturnal however enough studies have not yet taken place to confirm this.