There are over 20 subspecies of leopards, found in both Asia and Africa. Leopards are the widest-ranging big
cat, and one of the most adaptable. They can live in a large variety of habitats, from deserts to jungles, and
even near large human cities. Eight subspecies are endangered, 4 critically (. Weights range from 70 to 200 pounds,
with males a third again as large as females. Cats from cold mountain ranges are larger than average. 10 times as
strong as humans pound for pound, they can carry prey weighing 3 times their weight into trees. By carrying their
kill into trees, they keep it safe from other large predators, such as lions, hyenas, and tigers.

Leopards come in a wide variety of coat colors, from a light buff or tawny in warmer dryer areas to a dark shade in
deep forests. The spots, or rosettes, are circular in East African leopards but square in southern African leopards.

Leopards have long been preyed upon by man. Their soft, dense, beautiful fur has been used for ceremonial robes and coats.
Different parts of the leopard the tail, claws and whiskers are popular as fetishes. These cats have a reputation as wanton
killers, but research does not support the claim. In some areas farmers try to exterminate them, while in others leopards are
considered symbols of wisdom. Leopards do well in captivity, and some have lived as long as 21 years.

To the Big Cats