The leopard, Panthera pardus, is one of the largest members of the cat family, Felidae. A large male may weigh more than 91 kg (200 lb), may stand 70 cm (28 in) high at the shoulder, and may be 1.5 m (nearly 5 ft) long, plus a 90-cm (35 in) tail. Leopards occupy a great diversity of habitats, including dry grass-lands, scrubland, mountains, and jungles. They have the greatest geographic distribution of any wild cat, being found over most of Africa south of the Sahara and from the Middle East and
Leopards are chiefly nocturnal and solitary, but a male and female commonly hunt as a pair during and for a time after the mating season. Usually two to four young are born after a gestation period of 90 to 105 days. Intensive hunting of leopards for their skins has eliminated or seriously reduced a number of subspecies and geographical races.
The snow leopard, or ounce, Uncia uncia, is similar in size and general appearance to the leopard. Its coat, however, has a dense, wooly underfur and a long, thick outer coat. It is generally light yellowish gray to cream colored, with black to grayish rosettes on the upper parts of the body. Snow leopards are found in the highlands of central Asia from the Altai Mountains into the
The clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa, weighs up to 23 kg (50 lb) and may be 80 cm (32 in) high at the shoulder and 1 m (40 in) long, plus a 90 cm (35 in) tail. It is grayish or yellowish to brownish yellow in color, with black spots and dashes on the head, legs, and tail, and large, black-bordered, “cloudlike” bloches on its sides. Clouded leopards inhabit forest from