The Tenacious Leopard… not my usual post…

This is not the type of posts that I put on my blog, but because of the last few post of lion and leopard I’ve ended with some good discussions… So I decided to show the danger of the leopard by sharing a few video clips from Youtube…

The first is a leopard being released back into the wild and is not too graphic but shows their agility and how dangerous they can be…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPEFMMqXfow

The second is a hand raised leopard being filmed by our famous travelling TV producer and his team… this young leopard (tame they say) decides to bite a camera man… also not to graphic but does show one should not play with these animals and that you might be able to take it out of the wild, but you’ll never take the wild out of it…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7eKXQ7bb4s

The third I will not recommend you watch if you don’t want to see an animal being killed… this is a video of hunters following a wounded leopard and it comes into attack the hunter doing some lovely damage to him before being killed… I did not enjoy watching this one as the beautiful animal is killed instead of the hunter… but for those of you brave enough watch the tenacity of this beautiful cat…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-JnCbR83VA

I would far rather see them like in my photos, and here is another to remind you of their beauty…

more 1

more 2

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 select 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…

1

2

3

4

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…)

5

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

Leopard… up a tree…

The leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull, but it’s 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 larger 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. Shoulder height is 45 to 80 cm. The muscles attached to the scapula are exceptionally strong, which enhance their ability to climb trees. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 30 to 91 kg, compared to 23 to 60 kg for females.

Mon 25-07-2011 205

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.

Mon 25-07-2011 209

Mon 25-07-2011 215

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.

 Mon 25-07-2011 293

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

_MG_1214

Last photo courtesy of Son-in-law.

Silent killers hard to find… an extract from my book…

Don’t critique the extract..!!! oh go on have some fun critique it, the Editor has not got her hands on this piece yet so I’m not even sure how it will end up. But one thing I can guarantee it will be better than this. I just want to whet your appetite for more…..

a

Leopard are a much sought after sighting.

The leopard crouched in the grass his head the height of the longer blades, well camouflaged from his prey, the grazing Impala herd thirty metres away. He crept forward silently approaching, ne’er a sound, not a dry leaf nor a twig broken a quiet, stealthy, leopard creep forward. Massive claws retracted, ready for extension when called to action, anticipation of a meal clear in his head.

The Impala not far from his favourite tree was a bonus, a quick kill and up the tree with the rewards of an uninterrupted meal, no lion or hyena to share this prize. His forward progress watched by visitors in their cars, silent as not to disturb the spectacular occurrence they’re about to witness. His approach slow and hesitant, not wanting to warn of his coming, the last crouch, rear legs coiled beneath him ready for the sprint and jump.

Then it happened, the burst forward, the charge lightning fast, the Impala caught off guard spring in all directions. The leopard concentrating on his selected prey closes, springs and locks claws into the neck area landing on the back of the chosen one. The front claws lock on the neck, the back tripping the frightened buck, down into a dusty mêlée of rolling buck and cat. The clamping of the cat’s jaw on the neck insures asphyxiation, the rear legs of the leopard ensuring the flying hooves of his prey do not disembowel him.

Finally, the impala dies, the cat rises panting from the exhausting effort required, looking around to watch for the opportunists that often rob him of his kill. None spotted, he spends time collecting his breath and renewing his strength. At last rejuvenated from the effort he collects his reward dragging it between his legs back towards his tree next to the road. Effortlessly he crouches and springs, front legs splayed each side of the kill and claws his way up the tree. It all seems so effortless, an impala ram weighing nearly the same as the leopard hoisted to a good height and wedge in a spot chosen to make sure the prey isn’t dislodged.

He settles next to his prey and begins to disembowel the buck, chewing and swallowing, enjoying the fruits of a successful hunt. A meal he will continue to eat for a few days, whilst lodged in his pantry forked branch. A belly full consumed, time for a rest on a branch not far from the carcass, later down the tree again for a drink in the nearby river, then back to protect his meal.

How much of this did I witness? None.

We drove down a dirt road and met with a “car park” full of vehicles, the occupants all looking into the tree were the leopard and its kill were situated. But my imagination, ran riot, as I pictured the events leading up to this fantastic sighting of a rarely seen occurrence, in the Kruger National Park.

We were fortunate to see this and to get photographs of the animal, one of which I have attached to this article. I have visited the Park on more than 100 occasions and only on a few that I could count on one hand have I been privileged to see a leopard on its kill, and less, so close to the road.