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leopard

leopard, large carnivore of the cat family, Panthera pardus, widely distributed in Africa and Asia. It is commonly yellow, buff, or gray, patterned with black spots and rings. The rings, unlike those of the New World jaguar, never have spots inside them. Black leopards are commonly called panthers, a name sometimes used for all leopards. They are not a distinct species but merely a color variant caused by melanism, or excessive pigmentation. Close inspection reveals the typical spotting, which is obscured by the darkness of the background.

Leopards are somewhat smaller than lions and tigers; the largest males are about 7 ft (2.3 m) long, including the 3-ft (90-cm) tail. Leopards are solitary, largely nocturnal, and good climbers; they hunt both on the ground and in trees. They prey mostly on small animals such as monkeys, rodents, and birds. Leopards are found in much of Africa south of the Sahara and in parts of Asia from Israel to Korea and Indonesia. They are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range, owing primarily to loss of their natural habitat and to illegal killing for Asian folk medicine.

A related species is the snow leopard, or ounce, Uncia uncia or P. uncia, which replaces ordinary leopards in the high mountains of Central Asia. It has long whitish fur and diffuse spotting. In summer, when the mountain animals on which it preys range to high pastures, the snow leopard may climb to an altitude of 13,000 ft (3,900 m). It usually hunts at dusk or at night. More distantly related are the clouded leopards, Neofelis nebulosa of SE Asia and Neofelis diardi (Sunda clouded leopard) of Borneo and Sumatra; they were considered a single species until the early 21st cent. The coat is more tawny and lighter in the clouded leopard, more gray and darker in the Sunda clouded leopard. Both have coats strikingly marked with black and brown; there are stripes on the face and tail, spots on the limbs, and rosettes on the body. The tail is exceptionally long and heavy and is thickly furred. Forest dwellers, clouded leopards are nocturnal and arboreal in their habits. Unlike the leopard, both the snow and clouded leopards do not roar. The snow and clouded leopards are endangered species.

Leopards are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Felidae.

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leopard

leopard the leopard was originally (as in Pliny's Natural History) regarded as a hybrid between a lion and a ‘pard’. In heraldry, leopard means both the spotted leopard as a heraldic device, and a lion passant guardant as in the arms of England.
the leopard does not change his spots a person cannot change their essential nature; originally with biblical allusion to Jeremiah 13:23, ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?’ The saying is recorded in English from the mid 16th century.

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leopard

leop·ard / ˈlepərd/ • n. a large, solitary cat (Panthera pardus) that has a fawn or brown coat with black spots and usually hunts at night, widespread in the forests of Africa and southern Asia. Also called panther. ∎ Heraldry the spotted leopard as a heraldic device; also, a lion passant guardant as in the arms of England. ∎  [as adj.] spotted like a leopard.

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leopard

leopard (panther) Solitary, big cat found throughout Africa and s Asia, sometimes called a panther. The coat may be yellow and white with dark spots, or almost completely black. A good climber and swimmer, it feeds on birds, monkeys, antelopes, and cattle. Length: to 2.5m (8ft) including the tail; weight: to 90kg (200lb). Family Felidae; species Panthera pardus.

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leopard

leopard XIII. ME. leo-, leupard, lub-, lebard — OF. leop—, leupard, lebard (mod. léopard) — late L. leopardus — late Gr. leópardos, also leontópardos, f. léōn, leont- LION + párdos PARD.

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leopard

leopardballad, salad •collard, Lollard, pollard •bicoloured (US bicolored), dullard, multicoloured (US multicolored), particoloured (US particolored), self-coloured (US self-colored), uncoloured (US uncolored), varicoloured (US varicolored), versicoloured (US versicolored) •enamored, Muhammad •ill-humoured (US ill-humored) •Seanad, unmannered •Leonard • synod • unhonoured •Bernard, gurnard •unhampered •leopard, shepherd •untempered •Angharad, Harrod •Herod • hundred • unanswered •uncensored • unsponsored •Blanchard • dastard • unchartered •bastard • unlettered • unsheltered •self-centred (US self-centered) • it'd •unfiltered • unregistered • unwatered •unaltered • dotard • untutored •uncluttered, unuttered •bustard, custard, mustard •method • unbothered • Harvard •unflavoured (US unflavored) •lily-livered, undelivered •undiscovered

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Leopard

LEOPARD

LEOPARD (Heb. נָמֵר, namer), the strongest carnivorous animal in the Middle East. The leopard has a spotted coat, this being the meaning of its Hebrew name (Jer. 13:23). It is not to be confused with the tiger which, besides being striped, did not inhabit Ereẓ Israel (it is mentioned in Hul. 59b). Belonging to the feline family, the leopard, Felis pardus tullianus (= Pantherapardus), has a body which, excluding the tail, is 120–150 cm. (c. 4–5 ft.) long and a yellowish-fawn coat with black spots. Its bodily structure, with its short forelegs and extremely powerful hindlegs, is especially suited to lying in wait, this habit being referred to in the Bible (Hos. 13:7; cf. Jer. 5:6). In Isaiah's vision of the messianic age, in which he depicts the amity that will exist between the carnivorous animals and their prey, he declares that "the leopard shall lie down with the kid," the latter being the usual prey of the leopard, as the lamb is of the wolf and the calf of the young lion (Isa. 11:6). The leopard's speed and agility are stressed in the Bible (Hab. 1:8), while its strength is referred to in the Mishnah (Avot 5:20): "Be strong as a leopard, swift as an eagle, fleet as a gazelle, and brave as a lion to do the will of your Father in heaven," an aphorism that was illustrated in paintings and engravings in synagogues. In recent years leopards, like other wild animals, have decreased in the Middle East. Occasionally individual or pairs of leopards come down from the Lebanese mountains to Upper Galilee (cf. Song 4:8). In the neighborhood of En-Gedi a family of leopards was killed in the 1960s, and in the Arabah some members of the leopard family were hunted. The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), which is called bardelas in the Mishnah, is enumerated alongside the leopard among the carnivorous animals (bk 1:4). It is apparently included in the Bible under the term namer on account of its spotted coat, although in fact its bodily structure differs from that of the leopard, the cheetah having a small head and long legs which enable it to pursue its prey.

bibliography:

Lewysohn, Zool, 71f., no. 116; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), 20–22, 26, 43; J. Feliks, The Animal World of the Bible (1962), 33. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 253.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

phylum: Chordata

class: Mammalia

order: Carnivora

family: Felidae

status: Endangered, ESA Threatened, ESA (parts of Africa)

range: Africa (south of the Sahara Desert), southeastern Asia

Description and biology

A large member of the cat family, the leopard is known for its light to tawny brown coat patterned with black spots and rosettes, or rings. Unlike those of the jaguar, the rosettes of the leopard never have spots inside them. Some leopards are born with a black coat that still has the characteristic spotting. Found mainly in southern Asia, these cats are commonly (but incorrectly) called black panthers. An average leopard has a head and body length of 38 to 75 inches (97 to 191 centimeters) and weighs 65 to 155 pounds (30 to 70 kilograms). Its tail can reach a length of up to 3 feet (1 meter).

Leopards are solitary mammals that hunt primarily at night. Their diet includes monkeys and other small mammals, birds, rodents, and insects. Good climbers, leopards often store their dead prey in trees. They cover a home range of about 4 to 20 square miles (10 to 51 square kilometers) in search of food.

Male and female leopards come together only to mate, which can occur at any time during the year. After a gestation (pregnancy) period of 90 to 105 days, a female leopard gives birth to a litter of three to five cubs. She alone cares for the cubs, hiding them until they are six to eight weeks old. The young leopards nurse for several months and may stay with the mother for 18 to 20 months.

Habitat and current distribution

Leopards have the ability to adapt to almost any environment. As long as prey is available, these cats inhabit areas ranging from semidesert to dense rain forest. They are found in Africa south of the Sahara Desert and in southeastern Asia.

Leopards are considered endangered throughout their range. The only exception is the region south of the African countries of Gabon, Congo, Congo Republic, Uganda, and Kenya. Because leopards are more numerous here, they are considered only threatened.

History and conservation measures

Like most spotted cats, the leopard has been a victim of the fur trade. Although global treaties protect the leopard, poachers still hunt the animal to sell on the international market. In Africa, it is legal to hunt leopards for sport.

Contact between humans and leopards has not favored the animals. As more and more of their habitat has been converted to farm and ranch land, leopards have been forced to prey on domestic livestock. In response, farmers and ranchers have actively sought to poison the animals.

Leopards have protection only in national parks, where they are considered a tourist attraction.

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