Leopards are one of the five species of the cat family closely related to lions, jaguars and tigers. Scientifically, it is called Panthera Pardus and are known for their golden spotted bodies and hunting techniques. Leopards are fast and can run up to 58km/hr.
Leopards are very adaptable and are known to live in different habitats such as forests, deserts, grassland savannas, woodlands, mountain habitats, coastal scrubs and swampy areas. They are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia, there is also a small a small population of leopards found in Northern Africa and Arabia. Leopards have become extinct in Zanzibar and in some regions in Africa; it’s becoming rarer and rarer.
How leopards adapt to their habitats
The leopard’s habitat varies but leopards have developed characteristics to enable them to survive in their habitats. For instance, desert leopards are a shade lighter than grassland to enable them camouflage with their environment. Their paws are also shaped differently to enable them to walk in different terrains and temperatures.
Leopards look for food in wide territories in their habitats depending on the landscape and number of preys in that territory. Male leopards are known to be protective of their territories attacking any other male who invades their territories. The females, on the other hand, are friendlier to each other and often overlap each other territories.
Leopard’s diet in their habitat
Leopards normally prey and hunt mid-sized mammals such as deer and warthogs which are normally ambushed either from dense vegetation or from branches above. Leopards also eat a variety of small prey such as birds, reptiles and rodents. Due to intense food competition from tigers and scavengers, leopards usually drag their prey into the dense vegetation or up into the trees for safety. They are also strong are capable of hunting prey bigger than them such as antelopes which they either drag them into the trees to be eaten immediately or stored for later.
Changes in the leopard habitats
The leopard habitats are constantly being affected by the rise of climate changes brought about by human activities. Human beings are constantly killing vegetation that leopards depend on for survival thus endangering their lives. Population growth, industrialization, habitat fragmentation and deforestation has continued to destroy the natural habitats of these predators raising a need for people and international environment conservation organizations to protect those places so that we save these species for future generations.