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Life in the Savannah



retrieved from google images
The leopard occupies a wide range of habitats and has the most extensive distribution of any of the wild species of the cat family, occurring throughout much of Africa and Asia. The name leopard is also given to other species resembling the true leopard. The clouded leopard of southeastern Asia, with cloudlike markings on its grayish to yellowish coat, and the snow leopard of Central Asia, most similar to the leopard. The cheetah is recognized as the wildest animal similar to the leopard. The leopard is often confused with the jaguar, but the leopard is less stocky and does not have any spots inside its rosette markings, unlike the jaguar.
The leopard is a swift climber and will often stalk monkeys in the trees. It hunts mainly at night. When game is scarce, a leopard will eat field mice, fruit, porcupines, baboons, or arthropods. After a catch is made, the leopard will carry it up a tree, even if the prey is three times its weight, showing tremendous strength and agility. In woodland areas common prey includes small monkeys, duiker, and various rodents such as rats, porcupines, and squirrels.
The female bears one to six young per litter. Breeding usually takes place in January or February, all though there is no breeding season. After the mating is over, the male and female will separate. After a gestation period of about 95 days, 2 or 3 cubs are born blind and helpless, weighing under two pounds. They are weaned by three months and begin to join their mother in hunts where they will learn how to survive. By their second year, the young leopards will leave their mother to establish their own territory.
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.