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Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Class Information
Class Mammalia
Order Information
Order Carnivora
Family Information
Family Felidae
Genus Information
Genus Panthera
Species Information
Species P. pardus
Subspecies P. p. pardus
P. p. orientalis
P. p. nimr
P. p. fusca
P. p. delacouri
P. p. melas
P. p. japonensis
P. p. saxicolor
P. p. kotiya
Population statistics
Conservation status Near-threatened

The leopard is a large spotted feline, widely distributed throughout Africa and Asia. It is sometimes referred to as the panther, especially rare melanistic black leopards (which are also spotted, but black-on-black so that the spots are not readily apparent).

The three lions on the royal arms of England and Britain (and on the badge of the England football team) are known in heraldic terms as 'leopards'. The heraldic 'leopard' is a 'lion passant gardant'; a lion walking to the viewer's left and looking at the viewer.[1][2][3]


Leopards are solitary predators. They habitually climb trees, commonly storing their prey in a forked branch.

Leopards are prone to attacking and eating domestic dogs.

Man-eating leopards

Although man-eating leopards are much rarer than man-eating tigers, the Panar leopard claimed over 400 victims and the Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag managed to eat at least 125 Indian pilgrims before it was shot by Jim Corbett.

Biblical references

Leopards historically occurred naturally in Palestine (where they are now either extinct or extremely rare) and are mentioned several times in the Bible, including,

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Jeremiah 13:23

And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. Revelations 13:2

Leopards in popular culture

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling features a major character named Bagheera, a black Indian leopard who is a mentor figure to Mowgli and is one of his friends. He is well-known as a powerful hunter, as bold as a buffalo and as reckless as an elephant as is described, and he is one of the most feared animals in the jungle just after Shere Khan the tiger. "Mowgli's Brothers" reveals that Bagheera was born in captivity in a king's palace, but after his mother died, he broke out of his cage and escaped into the wild, where he became a feared predator. The Disney movies - both 1967 and 2016 - have him be a sterner character yet just as devoted to Mowgli's safety and well-being.

The Warriors book series does not feature leopards in the main story, but cats regard leopards with reverence as they believe that they had inherited their hunting skills. One story has a leopardess win her Clan hunting rights to the river by killing two wild boars that were attacking the big cat Clans. Cats are even sometimes named after them, like Leopardfur.

See also


  1. Burke's Peerage
  2. Armorial Gold Heraldic Dictionary
  3. Arms of Britain