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15 Amazing Leopard Fun Facts You Never Knew

Looking for some legendary leopard facts? Here's everything you need to know about these fearsome felines!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  August 19th 2022

Have you ever asked yourself "where do leopards live?" or "what do leopards eat?" Of course you have! Well, read on to find out some of the most interesting facts about leopards! Leopards are the smallest of the big cats - but they more than make up for their size in agility, speed and even - style. Who doesn't love leopard print?

There are loads more than just 15 amazing facts about leopards, but this list is a good place to start! And if you're on the hunt for some other animal facts, look no further than these elephant facts, these giraffe facts, or even these sloth facts!

1. Leopards have amazing coats

Most leopards are a light colour, with darker spots called "rosettes". This spotty pattern looks very distinctive to us, but it really helps their camouflage in the wild. Some leopards are black - and these fairly rare creatures are called panthers! That's right, a panther is just a black version of a big cat - and can be actually be a leopard OR a jaguar.

2. They live all over the world

Well, they live all around the "Old" world – so not in places like the Americas or Australia / New Zealand. You can find leopards in Sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China. Their big range just goes to show how successful they are!

3. They're really fast

Leopards are super fast! These spotty predators can run at a whopping 58km/h! They’re great jumpers too, and can leap 6m through the air – that’s the length of an adult giraffe lying down! Jumping is a very useful skill for leopards, it allows them to pounce on their prey, and jump from tree to tree. Pretty handy!

4. They like their own company

Leopards are very solitary and spend most of their time alone. They each have their own territory, and like many cats they use smells to warn off other leopards. It's not unusual for leopards to fight when they bump into each other or their territories overlap, something that happens when humans destroy their habitats. Apart from that, one of the only times leopards get near each other is to mate.

5. They have a varied diet

Leopards aren't fussy! They love a good-sized deer or gazelle, but are just as happy with monkeys or rodents. They are also pretty good at fishing, and even eat bugs some of the time! To be honest - leopards will eat anything made of meat. They're just not keen on vegetables!

6. They're good at climbing

Leopards are excellent at climbing. Spending a lot of time in the trees is handy for a few reasons - it gives a good vantage point, it's a safe place to sleep, and they can surprise their prey from up there too. In fact, leopards are so strong they can drag their dinner up into the trees and eat it up there. This stops hyenas from pinching it!

7. They're nocturnal

Leopards are most active at night, which is when they hunt. During the heat of the day they prefer to rest, and have a snooze somewhere safe. We don't blame them! This of course means that leopards have good eyesight too, and can pick out their prey in the pitch black night.

8. They are REALLY good at hunting

Leopards are expert hunters. They have to be to survive - especially as all their prey have evolved very impressive ways to escape a leopard attack. First a leopard will stalk their prey until they are really close - within 10 metres. They will then pounce! If it's a bigger animal like a deer they'll drag ot down with a bite to the neck. If it's a smaller meal like a fish or rat they'll bat it with their razor sharp paws!

9. Leopards are good mums

Leopard mums usually have 2 or 3 cubs every pregnancy, and they can give birth any time of year. Leopards look after their young really well, and stay with them until they're older enough to look after themselves. This is usually when they cubs are about 2 years old.

10. They make a lot of noise!

Leopards have a wide range of sounds that they make, from grunting and howling and a strange noise that sounds like someone sawing wood! These noises all have different meanings, and are used by leopards to commuicate with each other in a basic way. Like most cats we know, leopards even purr when they're happy and relaxed!

11. They're good at swimming

All cats can swim - but most of them don't like it. And that probably includes your pet cat! It makes their coats heavy and cold, and is generally annoying for them. Jaguars and leopards are an exception though, and are very happy swimming in rivers. It's a big advantage too, as swimming lets them find better hunting grounds and creep up on different animals.

12. They can go a long time without water

They might like water, but they can also go a long time without it. They often live in areas that suffer from drought, so whilst it's not ideal they can survive witout much water. The water that's in their food is usually enough for them. Nothing refreshes like a big juicy antelope!

13. They have to compete with lots of other animals

Leopards live in dangerous places, and they're definitely NOT the only predator around. They have to compete for every meal with African wild dogs, bears, cheetahs, hyenas, lions, and tigers. These animals don't usually attack leopards directly (they know that leopards can defend themselves) - but in times of hunger these other predators have been known to eat leopard cubs! Yikes!

14. They're not dangerous to humans... Usually

Leopards hardly ever eat humans. Lions and tigers don't often either - but more than leopards do. Apparently a leopard might go for a human if they've already got a taste for human meat... but these events are super rare. Obviously, us humans are much more of a threat to leopards - and some very nasty people even hunt leopards for trophies. Boo.

15. They need our help!

Leopards are in trouble! Their habitats are shrinking everywhere, and human activity has been causing leopard numbers to shrink steadily for years. Also, climate change is causing big disturbances to their way of life, and it'll be tough for them to adapt before it's too late. So, if you love leopards - or any other animals - we're going to have do something to stop climate change!