Indian Leopard (Panther)
One of the most adaptable predators in Earth the leopard is a very strong animal with per square inch of muscle power being higher than other big cats. Unlike the Cheetah or Lion the leopards rarely chase their prey. They hunt by ambush as the tiger does. They are masters of camouflage speed and stealth. A man eating leopard is a greater menace than a man eating tiger since they know the ways of humans much better.
The average weight of a male leopard may touch seventy kilos and the female is usually about forty to forty five. The length is about seven feet including the tail. The animal is able to climb trees with ease and is arboreal by nature. In order to survive they have to vary heir movement such that they do not come across the tiger who is their arch enemy.
The leopards too live a solitary life and pair during mating. Young leopards separated from their mother carve their own territory in the forests. The leopards are able to survive in the open country, dense forests, desert and scrub as well. They are often found near human habitation and hence the man animal conflict is much frequent than in case of the tiger.
The animal can survive on virtually anything from small animals to live stock. In intact ecosystem their main prey base are spotted deer, wild boar, Hanuman langur and other small animals. They have a propensity for attacking live stock cattle, poultry and gosts.
The big cat is critically endangered and is being hunted and poached frequently in India. Their numbers are going down due to expanding humanity where in human habitation over takes natural ecosystems.
Not much is known about the breeding biology and habits of these magnificent predators. Due to the presence of tiger the animal is a nocturnal in habit. It is found all over the country but is endangered almost everywhere.
Like the Bengal tiger their skin is much in demand and their bones now subsitute for Chinese medicine ingredients due to shortage of tiger bones in many countries.
Black panther is a melanistic phase of the animal whence the black pigment dominates. The black panther is the same species and is found very rarely. The melanistic leopards can be seen in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary in Southern India. The sightings are rare in this sanctuary but nevertheless they can be seen with luck.
Expected Lifespan In Wild: 7 to 9 years
Expected Lifespan In Captivity: 21 to 23 years
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