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Description - Other Names - Distribution - Taxonomy
Leopards are nocturnal and rarely active during daylight hours. They are well adapted to most habitats but prefer craggy hill and riverine areas. They tend to be solitary and spend their days resting on a comfortable branch of some tree or in a clump of thick bush.
Leopards are occasionally confused with cheetah. They do not have the black 'tear-marks' linking the eyes and sides of the mouth so characteristic of cheetah. Leopard are more like domestic cats in build, with compact bodies, a relatively large head and claws which are fully retractile. They have 'rosettes' of circularly arranged spots along the side and back of the body.
Despite their size, they are very good climbers and often drag their prey high into a tree, safely out of reach of Hyaenas and other scavengers. They are highly effective hunters and do not appear to be very specific in their choice of prey, although frequent victims are antelope that move to rivers in late afternoon when leopards become active.
Leopards have no particular breeding season. 2-3 cubs are born after a gestation period of 3-4 months.
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