Leopard and cheetah are the two main predators of Africa. Both are big cats and rivals for prey such as Thompson’s gazelles and other small antelopes. Both are beautiful, strong and endangered animals, but there are striking differences between them.
Although they are spotted cats, leopards and cheetahs are not so closely related. Leopard refers to Panther genus, along with lion, tiger and jaguar. Cheetah is the only representative Acinonyx genus. Its closest relative in the feline family is the cougar.
The leopard is stronger than the cheetah, and indeed, leopards and lions often kill cheetah cubs in order to remove them as future competitors. On the other hand, the cheetah is known to be faster than a leopard over short distances and is one of the fastest land animals on Earth. Despite its speed, the cheetah is not as good a hunter as the leopard. The leopard is not only bigger and stronger, but patiently pursues its prey. Cheetahs can also be tamed and are sometimes kept as pets for humans who know how to take care of these surprisingly fragile and demanding animals. The much less docile leopard is never kept as a pet. Read on to see some more comparisons between leopard and cheetah.
Comparison of leopard and cheetah
|The size||5.25 to 7.55 feet long||3.6 to 5 feet long|
|Weight||37.4 to 143 lbs||46 to 159 lbs|
|Habitat||Savannah, forests, forests||Meadows, deserts|
|Life span||10 to 12 years old in the wild; up to 27 years old in captivity||8 years in the wild; 17 years in captivity|
|Body||Muscular, broad head and legs||Long, slender, flexible body, head
short compared to the body, small, legs and tail are long
|Group||Single males form groups||Otherwise a lonely rescue of mothers and cubs|
|Claws||Fully retractable||Rather retractable|
|Vote||Roar, growls, purrs, coughs||Churrs, yips, gurgle|
Differences unique to species
Leopards have rosettes on their bodies and a ringed tail that is shorter than their body. Their fur is thick and soft, especially on the belly. Leopards are also primarily arboreal, which means they spend a lot of time in trees. There are eight subspecies of the leopard.
There are five subspecies of cheetahs. Instead of rosettes, they have separate spots on their bodies, the hair is rough, and there may be a short mane. Their long limbs and extremely flexible spine allow them to run fast. They also have stripes that run from the eyes and down the cheeks. Although cheetahs can climb trees, they are most often found on the ground.
Five main differences between leopards and cheetahs
1. Leopard vs. Cheetah: Different Ranges
Leopards have a wider range than cheetahs. The original habitat of the cheetah stretched from most of the African continent to Western Asia and all the way to India. The geographic range of leopards also covers most of Africa, but also includes Arabia, Java, India and Sri Lanka, Russia and parts of China.
2. Leopard vs. Cheetah: Cheetahs are faster than leopards, but leopards are more cunning than cheetahs.
A cheetah can reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, but overheats after just a few minutes. It will start chasing prey when it is between 230 and 328 feet. The leopard takes time to track down its prey, and the spots help camouflage it. It will then jump onto its prey when it is only 9.8 to 33 feet away. If the victim escapes, the leopard will probably have no difficulty in running after it. Leopards also fall on unsuspecting prey from trees.
3. Leopard vs. Cheetah: Leopard Roar, Cheetah Chirping
One of the reasons leopards and cheetahs don’t belong to the same genus is because of their vocalizations. Panther it is a genus of roaring cats. Leopards have a variety of vocalizations, including roaring, grunting, spitting, purring, and even meowing. They emit a kind of cough that tells other leopards that they are in the area.
Cheetahs communicate through grunts, chirps, howls, hisses, growls, moans, meows and gurgles, but not roars.
4. Leopard vs. Cheetah: Male cheetahs form coalitions, but male leopards do not.
Male cheetahs often form coalitions to defend their common territory, and these coalitions can last the entire life of their members. Men in a coalition are almost always related by relatives, and it takes time for an unrelated man to become accepted into the group.
5. Leopard versus cheetah: leopard at night, cheetah during the day.
Leopards usually hunt at night and rest during the day. Cheetahs hunt during the day. This helps them avoid cats that hunt at night, such as the leopard and lion, but leopards and lions still sometimes steal killed cheetahs. This is especially unfortunate because cheetahs are poor hunters and most of their attempts to catch prey fail.
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