Leopard (Panthera pardus) is a member of the cat family (Felidae), found throughout most of Africa and Asia. It has an elongate and muscular body, broad paws and short ears. Leopard is similar to Jaguar in coat pattern, with dark spots or rosettes. The background colour of the coat varies from shades of yellow through a reddish brown, with some albino. The backs of its ears are black except for a spot either located centrally or near the tips. Large black spots can be seen in its belly. Its tail has irregular patches that, at the tip of the tale, become dark-ringed bands.
Male is about 215 cm in length and weighs up to 68 kg. Female is 180 cm in length, and weighs to 50 kg.
Leopard is an agile climber, and can move down from a tree headfirst. It is also strong swimmers. Mainly nocturnal, but can be seen at any time of day, and will even hunt during daytime on overcast days.
It feeds on everything from insects and rodents to antelopes, wildebeest, impala, reed buck, fish, apes and baboons.
Leopard extends over the Indian peninsula, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal. The animal prefers to live in tropical forests, brush and scrublands, rocky hillsides or the high, cold slopes of the Himalayas.
Leopard can be seen in the Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala.
[Source a (30) 04-Oct-04]