Leopard, (Panthera pardus) The cat of the tree.

Mon 25-07-2011 199The leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull, but an extremely strong and agile cat. It kills its prey and hoists it up a tree where it can feed for days undisturbed by Hyena and, most time, Lion. It can lift two to three times its own body weight and to see one with its prey climbing a tree is a very rare privilege. The females are territorial and the males roam between these territories, in search of females ready for mating. Mon 25-07-2011 204

Leopards are agile and stealthy predators. Although smaller than other members of the Panthera genus, they are able to take largeMon 25-07-2011 207e prey due to their massive skulls that facilitate powerful jaw muscles. Body length is between 95 and 165 cm, and the tail reaches 60 to 110 cm. Mon 25-07-2011 259Shoulder height is 45 to 80 cm. The muscles attached to the scapula are exceptionally strong, which enhance their ability to Mon 25-07-2011 215climb trees. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 30 to 91 kg, compared to 23 to 60 kg for females. Large males of up to 91 kg have been documented in Kruger National PaMon 25-07-2011 235rk.

Leopards are elusive, solitary and largely nocturnal. Home ranges for male between 30 and 78 square kilometre, and females 15 to 16 square kilometres.  There appears to be no overlap of territories between the males but there is an overlap with the females.

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     The Kill is wedged in the tree where the leopard can feed on the carcass, Hopefully out of reach of a brave lion that might attempt to climb a tree.





                  A female on the charge through the shrub, notice her difference head size to the male above.