The leopard – one of the Big 5 – are highly elusive animals that live across sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Their wide geographic range has made them adaptable to many different environments and habitats, with some living in warm or cold climates, deserts, semi-deserts, grasslands, rainforests, grasslands, and urban areas. The African leopard is the most common species of leopard, but leopard populations are severely declining around the world. 

A leopard’s coat is covered in distinctive spots known as rosettes, as they resemble the shape of a rose. These irregular-shaped rosettes create beautiful patterns that stand out against the light fur. The designs of the rosettes combined with the brown, black, and yellow colors help leopards blend into their surroundings, allowing them to stalk their prey in secret.

In contrast to the highly social lions, leopards are solitary creatures that enjoy having their own space and home range designated by urine and claw marks. Out of all of the big cats, leopards are the most talented climbers and will spend much of their time in trees looking for prey, storing their food away from other animals, or sleeping.

When a female leopard gives birth to two or three cubs, she abandons her nomadic lifestyle and keeps her cubs hidden from danger for eight weeks. A female leopard will move cubs from one location to the next until they are old enough to learn how to hunt, and they will taste meat for the first time once they are six or seven weeks old. The cubs will live with their mother for about two years, and then they begin their solitary lifestyle. 

Their solitary nature and effective camouflage make leopards particularly tricky to spot while on a safari, making for a thrilling experience once these cats are seen in the wild!