The leopard is the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera; the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar. The leopard’s range of distribution has decreased radically due to hunting and loss of habitat – the leopard now chiefly occurs in sub-Saharan Africa.

The leopard resembles the jaguar, although it is smaller and of slighter build. The fur of the leopard is marked with rosettes without internal spots – unlike those of the jaguar. A fully grown up leopard will vary in body weight between 37 and 91 kg, males are about 30% larger than females.

As there are many spotted cats, a leopard may be mistaken for a jaguar or cheetah. But the leopard is larger and more muscular than the cheetah, but slightly smaller than the jaguar. The leopard’s black, irregular rosettes serve as camouflage. They are circular in East Africa but tend to be square-shaped in southern Africa.