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Leopard
Leopard

Leopard

Order- Carnivora, Family Felidae- Panthera pardus
Leopard can exist independent of water but will drink regularly when it is available. They are ambush hunters and typically stalk very close using their exceptional camouflage. Leopard have a very varied diet and are the most opportunistic of the cats. While they are quite capable of killing an adult kudu 3 times their weight, a lot of the diet of leopard consists of small game like squirrels,  francolin and guineafowl. They will catch fish and young crocodiles from drying pools, feed on emerging termite alates, eat fruits and berries, go into caves and catch bats and take reptiles such as monitor lizards and even large pythons. Leopard are also known to scavenge and steal kills from other predators.
Although predominantly nocturnal leopard often hunt even in the middle of the day.
Warning signs from a leopard begin with a fixed stare, flattening the body to the ground/branch in a crouched position, ears back, tail flicking, snarling and growling. This may be followed by a full charge which in which it will run low and very fast towards you.
If you encounter a leopard on foot with guests and it is at close range try to avoid eye contact with the leopard and get out of the situation as quickly as you can. If there is a good chance that the guests will not spot the leopard then do not point it out. A leopard relies on its camouflage and if it feels it has not been spotted it will not react aggressively. If the situation turns into a confrontation and the leopard is giving warning signs, immediately begin backing off, preferably at an angle. At the same time issue a firm instruction to your guests not to stare or point at the leopard and not to run. If possible retreat diagonally away from the cat. If a charge results, stand still but still avoid direct eye contact until the charge is over and then continue retreating.
Leopard are very difficult to age once they reach full size. The coat becomes courser and more sparse in later years and there is usually gradual increase in facial scarring from the inevitable territorial battles.
Mating is not seasonal. Mating takes place every 15 minutes throughout the night during the several days that they are mating and usually 2 cubs are born after a gestation period of 3.5 months. They weigh about 300-500 grams at birth and for the first 10 days the eyes are closed. The cubs remain with the mother for at least a year. However the young may be allowed to feed off kills that the mother has made long after attaining independence and the bond with the mother is never completely lost. Once independent a leopard must establish a territory. Female territories are smaller than males and more dominant males have larger territories that include the territories of several females. Despite the fact that a male and female may share the same territory, they are strictly solitary and will only meet up to mate.  Territory is marked primarily by scent but they do also vocalise with a harsh rasping sound similar to someone sawing wood with a rough saw.
Average life-span varies from area to area depending on conditions and is usually 20 years.
Vocalizations include a rasping cough, growling and snarling.