Leopard Facts for Kids
Looking for fun and interesting leopard facts for kids? Learn about this fascinating and mysterious feline and its elusive habits.
Leopards are one of the most widely recognized animals in the whole world, popular with adults and kids alike, famous for its beautiful fur coat, its secretive hunting habits, and being a fierce hunter.
The leopard is a fascinating creature, like any of the big cats, and some kids can't get enough of them. So learn all about leopards for kids, and get to know this mysterious hunter a little better.
Fun Leopard Facts for Kids
Fun and interesting facts about leopards for kids and family
Leopards are one of the four "big cats," along with lions, tigers, and jaguars, meaning they can roar. They're the smallest of the four, but still grow up to 5 feet long (1.5 meters) in the body, and can weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kg), though many are much smaller and lighter.
They're best known for their spots, which help them blend in to the environment, so they can sneak up on prey without being seen. This, along with their strong jaws and great instincts, make them great hunters.
Rute Martins of Leoa's Photography
Everyone loves pictures of leopards
Former and current range
Where do Leopards Live?
Leopard habitat and range
Leopards live mostly in Africa, in a variety of different environments. They can be found in deserts or grasslands, but they prefer savannah, rainforest or other forests, where their climbing skills can be useful.
They can be found in a variety of climates and temperatures, showing how adaptable they can be in different environments.
While once found over a wide range of territory, the leopard's range has shrunk quite a bit. Once found throughout Asia, it is now found there only in small, isolated areas, in smaller numbers. However, the leopard's range is larger than any other wild cat, making its survival a little safer than some of the other endangered big cats, especially since it has such a big range in Africa.
Leopard Plush Toys for Kids
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What do Leopards Eat?
Leopard diet and eating habits
Leopards are opportunistic hunters, so they'll eat whatever they can get their paws on. This can be anything from small animals, like birds, rabbits, and insects, but they often prefer larger prey like monkeys, gazelles, impalas, or deer.
To catch their prey, they will sneak up as close as they can before pouncing on them, hiding in the grass or bushes, where their spots help them blend into the background. Once they jump at their prey, they bite the neck to finish it off quickly.
Leopard in a tree
These cats are fast runners, able to run up to 36 miles per hour (about 60 km/h).
Being great climbers, a leopard will often drag its meal up a tree, where it doesn't have to worry so much about other predators trying to steal the kill, especially if it's feeding its cubs. They can even drag an animal several times its size all the way up into the trees!
However, leopards are not the strongest animals in Africa, so if a lion or a hyena comes along trying to steal the prey, it's dangerous for a leopard to fight back. Climbing a tree is usually a lot safer...except when a lion comes along who can climb too.
Leopard Hunting a Zebra
BBC video in the wild: cute cubs too!
Leopard Books for Kids
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The Life of a Leopard
From newborn to adult
Newborn leopards are blind for about a week and a half, and stay in the den for about three months before they're old enough to go outside and follow their mom along on a hunt. They stay with their mother for about a year or two, when they're old enough to move out on their own and hunt for themselves. After that, they live alone, and can be pretty territorial.
While usually nocturnal, leopards are often active at all times of the day. And unlike some cats, they're pretty good swimmers, as well as excellent climbers, often spending time in the trees.
In captivity, they can live up to 21 years, which is pretty long for a cat.
Types of Leopards
Subspecies, and black panthers
There are quite a few varieties of this beautiful big cat, with African, Indian, Javan, Arabian, Amur, North Chinese, Caucasian, Indochinese, and Sri Lankan leopards each making up a different subspecies, and possibly more, shown by bone fragments. The variety is due to the large range that leopards still have, compared to other big cats.
A black panther
And although the snow leopard and clouded leopard share the name, they are actually considered a different species, sharing the name because of their similar appearance.
One of the most famous types of leopard is the black panther, with dark fur instead of spots. This is not a separate species, but simply a trait that some big cats have.
They can also mix with other animals, such as lions, tigers, and jaguars, to form hybrid animals that look like a mix between the two!
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Why are Leopards Endangered?
Habitat loss and conservation efforts
Like all big cats, leopards face threats from increasing human interaction. As human cities grow bigger and new roads are built, its territory shrinks, and it has a harder time finding enough to eat. Also, when territories are cut off from each other, it can make it much harder to find other animals to breed with.
Ragunan Zoo, South Jakarta, Indonesia
Gunkarta Gunawan Kartapranata
Poaching is a problem, as hunters kill leopards for their beautiful fur coat, and farmers sometimes consider them a problem if they start hunting farm animals.
Still, most leopards are in better shape than other animals, such as the tiger, but conservation efforts are important, especially for some of the more endangered species. The Amur leopard, which lives in eastern Russia, is in serious need of help.
Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund word to protect many endangered animals, and are always happy for people to help out.
More Leopard Pictures
Mysterious and majestic
A Persian leopard
Sri Lankan Leopard
At the Colchester Zoo
Hannover Zoo in Germany
Leopards in Arts and Literature
Everyone loves a leopard
Just like all the other big cats, leopards are found in a wide range of literature, art, myths and legends, and their spots make popular clothing designs or costumes. Pictures of them are used in the coat of arms of some countries, and they are used as a symbol of strength, mystery, and power.
They're now quite popular on a safari, if the visitors are lucky enough to see them, which is good news for conservation efforts, since ecotourism is usually quite helpful for survival. They'll probably be popular forever, just like they've been popular all this time.
Leopard Posters and Prints
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Adorable Baby Amur Leopards
Cute leopard kitten video!
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