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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Did You Know? 21 Incredible Indian Leopard Facts

Indian leopard facts shed light on this beautiful wild animal.

If you want your children to know about the big cats, why not introduce them to the Indian leopard?

The Panthera pardus fusca is a majestic and graceful animal found in and around India. Nine subspecies of this animal have been identified in the world, a majority of which are found in Asia and Africa. Wildlife photographers love to capture this elusive big cat. They spend hours under the hot sun trying to follow pugmarks or alarm calls. However, it is not easy to spot Indian leopards as they are mostly arboreal. Langurs get frantic whenever a leopard passes by and so does the deer population in any forest. Despite this, leopards are usually shy and have to share their territory with other big cats like tigers. Deforestation and a loss of habitat are both leading to increasing cases of this animal interacting with humans. These encounters can sadly prove to be fatal for humans.

Want to know more Indian leopard facts? Read on!

For more relatable content, check out these South China tiger facts and African civet facts for kids.

Indian Leopard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Indian leopard?

Indian leopards are cats belonging to phylum Chordata, order Carnivora, suborder Feliformia, family Felidae, subfamily Pantherinae, species P. pardus, and leopard subspecies P. p. fusca.

What class of animal does an Indian leopard belong to?

Indian leopard belongs to the class Mammalia.

How many Indian leopards are there in the world?

It is estimated that around 12,000-14,000 Indian leopards are left in India.

Where does an Indian leopard live?

The Indian leopard's natural habitat includes tropical rain forests, dry deciduous forests, temperate forests, and coniferous forests. Interestingly, in India, its wild habitat does not include the mangroves of the Sundarbans.

What is an Indian leopard's habitat?

The Indian leopard roams the Indian subcontinent. Its habitat is found in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Tibet, and in regions of Pakistan.

Who do Indian leopards live with?

Indian leopards are solitary predators. Other than during the mating period, they like to live a solitary life.

How long does an Indian leopard live?

The average lifespan of Indian leopards is between 12 and 17 years. Some may also live up to 20 years!

How do they reproduce?

Indian leopards are known to mate throughout the year. Male and female leopards cross territories to mate. They usually track each other through scent marks. For 46 days the estrous cycle lasts and the female is in heat for between six and seven days usually. The gestation period length is similar to that of tigers. The gestation period normally lasts between 90-105 days. The litter consists of two to four cubs. Females choose well-covered spots like caves, crevices, and hollowed trees in order to protect their litters from probable predators. Cubs are born with less defined rosettes and closed eyes; their rosettes develop over time. After eight to 10 days they open their eyes and they are weaned until they are four months of age. These young cubs stay with their mother for two years.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN has clubbed all leopard subspecies together and put them in the Vulnerable category. They are listed in CITES Appendix I. They are also listed in Schedule I of The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Indian Leopard Fun Facts

What do Indian leopards look like?

Indian leopards are opportunistic hunters, built for strength. This wildlife species has a dark tan coat with spots called rosettes. The rosettes are named after their resemblance to a rose. The pattern of rosettes is unique for every individual and these rosettes are identifying features for each individual leopard. This characteristic is similar to the role of stripes in the case of tigers. The color of their fur coat also varies with the natural habitat of these animals, for instance, they are more ochre in color in rainforests. The animal has a long tail, a lithe body, a large skull, and strong legs.  They also have powerful jaw muscles. Their body, feet, and tail are adapted for climbing trees. Male Indian leopards have a 2 ft 6 in-3 ft (76.2-91.4 cm) long tail while female Indian leopards have a 2 ft 6 in-2 ft 10.5 in (76.2-87.6 cm) long tail.

This is a solitary animal of prey!

How cute are they?

The Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) is often described as beautiful and elegant rather than cute. However, the young ones are absolutely adorable.

How do they communicate?

There are distinctive calls in the leopard kingdom through which these cats communicate with other cats. When happy or relaxed they are known to purr! When angry, they tend to growl. Also when male cats want their competitors to leave, they give out a raspy cough.

How big is an Indian leopard?

Males of this subspecies are larger and heavier than females. A male leopard ranges from 4 ft 2 in-4 ft 8 in (127-142.2 cm) in length and 23.6-27.5 in (60-70 cm) at the shoulder in height. A female leopard ranges from 3 ft 5 in-3 ft 10 in (104.1-116.8 cm) in length and 22.4-25.2 in (57-64 cm) at the shoulder in height.

How fast can an Indian leopard run?

These leopards are incredibly fast and can run at speeds reaching up to 36 mph (58 kph)! They are super springy as well. They can leap up to 6.6 yd (6 m) forward through the air and jump almost 118.1 in (3 m) high!

How much does an Indian leopard weigh?

Males are larger and heavier than females. A male's weight varies from  110.2-169.8 lb (50-77 kg) while a female's weight varies from 64-132.3 lb (29-60 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male is called a leopard while a female is called a leopardess. These names are common across all the subspecies!

What would you call a baby Indian leopard?

A baby Indian leopard is called a cub.

What do they eat?

Indian leopards prey on sambar deer, nilgai, wild pigs, axis deer, hares, peafowl, birds, porcupines, dogs, cattle, and the common langur. Their diet basically includes anything and everything within their reach.  

Would they make a good pet?

The Indian leopard is a wild animal and, it is against the law to own a pet leopard now. This animal tends to avoid human contact.

Did you know...

Some interesting Indian leopard facts include the fact that leopards are one of the big cats found in the Indian region. Other cat species include the snow leopard, the clouded leopard, the lion, and the tiger.

An Indian leopard attack is very dangerous and those living in settlements around forests are always aware of this. Sometimes these leopards even go after livestock and dogs.

The black Indian leopard is a melanistic leopard with darker fur and dark rosettes. Sometimes it is called the black panther just like Bagheera in 'The Jungle Book'! Melanistic leopards are rare in the wild.

The Indian leopard population, along with other wild animals like tigers, is protected in many national parks and biosphere reserves in India. These parks are an important source of income for many Indian states.

According to one survey, Indian leopards have risen in numbers in 2018 as compared to 2014. A 60% overall rise has been reported. Indian leopards dominate areas like Madhya Pradesh (Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park), Maharastra (Tadoba National Park), Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh.

Leopards are nocturnal animals. In the day, these predators rest in a tree. These animals prey and store their kill in tree hollows.

The Indian leopard population is sadly dwindling. Threats range from poaching to illegal hunting. Poaching is indeed a serious problem around forests. The government is working to try to stop the poaching of these animals.

The Indian leopard population is the most genetically diverse as compared to the other subspecies in Asia. Leopards are good swimmers and have excellent hearing skills. The tail is also a reliable source of balance for the leopard.

Indian leopards prefer lower altitudes than the snow leopard. The clouded leopard is found in the northeastern regions of India.

Leopards are the smallest cat of all the big cats.

How many Indian leopards are left in India?

The Government of India has published a 'Status Of Leopard In India, 2018' report. According to this, nature in the northeast has 141 of these species. The Gangetic Plains and the Lower Himalayas have an estimated population of 1,253 leopards. The Eastern Ghats and Central India have an estimated population of 8,071 leopards and the Western Ghats has 3,386 predators. These wildlife predators have an estimated total population of 12,852 in nature in India.

What does an Indian leopard do to survive?

Being good climbers these leopard subspecies uses trees and forests for their survival. Known to be powerful predators, they can drag their kill high up in the trees. They do this to protect their kill from scavengers like striped hyenas. Also, leopards mainly stay up in the trees to protect themselves from tigers and other threats who cannot tree-climb.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our Asiatic lion facts and masked palm civet facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Indian leopard coloring pages.

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