Leopard or Lion… you make the choice…

Here’s the scenario… you’re walking through the bush and you come face to face with either a male Lion or a male Leopard… which would you prefer to face…

A male lion at 190 kg (400 lbs) or a male leopard at 77 kg (170 lbs)

Lion at shoulder height 120 cm (48 in.) leopard 80 cm (32 in.)

Lion a length of 195 cm (78 in.) or leopard 165 cm (66 in.)

Taking the stats of their sizes I’d say the leopard would be the one of choice…. but knowing their aggression I’d say the lion would have to be the choice….

What would I choose ?? Well to start I don’t want to bumble into either and would do my best not to, but if I had to selectΒ one… it would be the lion… the leopard, specially a male, frightens the bejinkers out of me… here’s a photo or two of a male leopard we encountered in KNP a while ago…

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and how do we know it’s a male… one its head is bigger than the females and he has a set of … (look at the photo…)

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I’m going to show more leopard photos in my next post… so you are forewarned if you want to ignore the next post…

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59 thoughts on “Leopard or Lion… you make the choice…

  1. I’ll just say along with others that I don’t want to come face to face with either, but this is one gorgeous animal. I really am quite respectful and AFRAID of our local wild animals–bear and wildcats, and because of that I am disinclined towards spending any time on some of our back trails. I’d like the hike, but I really do have that fear. I think I’ll just continue to admire your photographs, Rob. I am continually amazed at how many animals you are able to see in their natural habitat!

    • Thank you Debra…. lets be honest the animals are more inclined to move off before you get to them… and unfortunately they often know you’re there long before we know they are there… so we miss them… their natural instinct is to avoid contact with us as we are not seen as a food source… I say that in most cases they don’t see us as a food source… when old and cannot catch their natural prey they will see us as an easy meal and that is where the man eaters come from… very few of them left in Africa today… A leopard is however a slightly less tolerant animal if you trap him unaware they might attack.. but their senses are phenomenal and they will either lay up in their tree and watch you pass without you even seeing them or slink down and move off… Having met up with one in a tree while on foot, my heart beat reached levels I cannot describe… but Dad taught me never run, it starts their attack mode… so we merely casually walked on by for a couple of hundred metres then turned to see if we had a follower… he didn’t … then we ran… I’m sure he remained calmly in the tree and watched us pass by… Whilst camping we’ve had one make a kill further up river from where we were and dragged his meal to our camp… stopped and then dragged his kill around us sleeping in the open, to where he placed his kill in the tree and started to eat… not in the least worried about us… I was young then and it made a big impression on me… I cover all these stories in my upcoming book…
      As for your bears, I’d also be afraid of them as they seem to have an aggressive nature and could almost be called bullies… well that is what we see on the TV and read in the books, maybe they are like our leopard and attack when caught unawares…

  2. Yeah, I would say the size and weight stats are kind of a red herring when making a decision like that, after all, I’d rather get close with an elephant than a funnel-web spider, you know? (Although of course I know elephants can be killers too if provoked too far). If I had to decide between two animals like that, I’d want the stats on their aggressiveness and how many humans they have killed in relation to their numbers, and under what circumstances etc.

    Either way, both very beautiful!

    • Well I would say I’d prefer to get closer to the spider than the elephant. .. mainly due to their size and my ability to kill one or the other… now without a gun, the elephant is going to waste me… the spider I can stand on, ’cause of its size…
      a lion will warn you he is unhappy with your approach by flicking his tail and even mock charging… the leopard might just alight from his post sneak off into the long grass and before you can say “Jack Robinson”he could be on your back and with a well placed bite can pierce you cranium, or get a good grip on your neck and basically disembowel you… stat wise I’m not sure anyone is keeping world scores on who is killing more than whom….
      but what I can tell you is there are more people shooting lion than leopards due to the “Canned lion” scenario here in my country, where rich old farts come here from foreign lands and shoot a lion that has been hand raised and kept in a small enclosure and is sometimes even drugged, just to be able to say he/she has shot a lion…. but some who have paid to go and shoot a leopard in the wild have had their butts kicked by the animal, which I root for anyway and do a lekker jig when I read of their mis fortune… so I will answer the question for you… rather face a lion than a leopard… your chances are better…. but if you’re with me…. just make sure you can run faster than I can, as both will take down the slowest

  3. Should there be an escaped leopard or lion in the Cotswolds, I shall do my best to avoid it. However, it would be great to have the opportunity to get some big cat photos like yours.

  4. Thanks Bulldog – that’s quite the choice you gave us. I’m pretty sure in my case it wouldn’t matter one way or the other because I will have had The Big One and dropped dead on the spot.

  5. I’m with you. Maybe it was watching Clarence the cross-eyed lion back in the day, but male lions strike me a kind of lazy whereas that leopard looks like he’s all business and his business is rather treacherous.

    • No Anneli they are not the best of cats to walk into, but then you’ve read my stories of the encounters I’ve had… adrenalin rush they are, but not as bad a result as one thinks might happen….

  6. I really enjoy the stats you provide of the wildlife images you capture. I can’t imagine having a positive experience meeting either one in the wild.

    • I can assure you, having walked into both it is surely the best adrenalin rush I’ve ever experienced… my encounters are covered in my up coming book… the leopard however was definitely the most frightening as a lion will make a charge and show you he is coming, the leopard,,,, a silent killer, when he’s on your back, start to pray fast, as he won’t give you much time before he kills you…

  7. Neither, as both would surely eat me for dinner! πŸ˜‰ But if I had to choose, I would choose the lion because to see one up close would be an amazing thing to experience before I died. πŸ˜€
    These are wonderful leopard captures…

    • Surprisingly not true… they will rather move off than attack you, but if cornered or feel in the least danger the lion will charge at you… the leopard will just silently kill you… I’ve encountered both and neither felt like eating me… one watched me pass on by and the other was a pride of lion 11 strong that were on a killed kudu, I think they were as surprised to see me as I was to see them… I didn’t try to share in their meal so they let me be… both stories covered in my up coming book…

    • They are aren’t they… would be easy to kick him in the …… just aim for his bum… but boy you better be able to run fast as this is not gonna be an easy escape…lol

  8. Hmm Lion maybe … hoping it will be too lazy to follow me up a tree. I love Leopards, you are very lucky to get such great photo’s of a normally very shy animal. Laura

    • Yes Laura this was a sighting of a special nature… with a fresh kill in the tree with it this male was quite comfortable not more than 10 m from the road, and little interested in the parking lot full of cars watching him…

  9. Wow! Nou het jy my weer sprakeloos. Mooi fotos gekiek. Nie so maklik soos wat dit lyk nie. Ek face natuurlik eerder ‘n leeu, dan ‘n luiperd. Hy trek jou agterkop se vel oor jou gesig af, nog voor jy woord kan uiter. Maar ek is mal oor luiperds – miskien om dit nie so maklik is om hulle op te spoor nie …

    • Luiperds is ‘n gunsteling van my … die stille moordenaars … ‘n leeu wys hy gaan kom met n sterte wat waai … ‘n luiperd maak jou net dood sonder dat jy weet hy kom…

    • Probably very little chance of that… but it would put some excitement into your life and probably just as dangerous as some of those Paris streets you venture down…

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