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Leopard

A Leopard is also a coin, see English coin Half Florin or Leopard.

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is one of the four 'big cats' of genus Panthera. Most leopards are orange with black spots. The black panther, or panther, is actually a leopard which has genes for more of the black pigment than the orange pigment, producing a pure black coat as opposed to the more usual spotted leopard. This rare condition is known as melanism[?]. Looking closely one may verify that the spots remain, and are simply hidden by the surplus of black pigment in the leopard's coat.

The leopard's habitat ranges more widely than that of any other big cat, covering most of Africa (with the exception of the Sahara Desert region), as well as parts of Asia Minor and the Middle East, India, Pakistan, China, Siberia, much of mainland southeast Asia, and the islands of Java and Sri Lanka.

Their lifestyle and diet are as varied as that of any big cat. They are able to hunt in trees as well as on the ground, and they feed on insects, rodents, fish, and larger game such as antelope. They are excellent tree climbers, and often protect their larger kills by carrying them up a tree.

The leopard can be distinguished from the closely related jaguar by its rings, or rosettes. These, unlike those of the jaguar, never have spots inside them.

A North Chinese Leopard. Image courtesy of EFBC/FCC, http://www.cathouse-fcc.org/



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