There are a few big cats that are easily recognized by anyone, and two of the most popular ones would have to be leopards and cheetahs. Though they may both look similar, there are some distinct differences between these two felines. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of those key distinctions. So if you’re ever curious about the difference between a leopard and a cheetah, read on!
What is Leopard?
The leopard (Panthera pardus) is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Its preferred habitats are dry forests, scrub forests, and rocky terrain. Unlike other members of its genus, the leopard is solitary rather than social. The leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting for trade and pest control, and persecution due to conflict with humans. The average head-and-body length of an adult leopard is between 1 and 1.6 m (3.3 and 5.2 ft). It has a long tail that measures between 66 and 102 cm (26 and 40 in). shoulder height is between 45 and 80 cm (18 and 31 in). Males tend to be larger than females with weight ranging between 21–72 kg (46–159 lb) compared to 15–45 kg (33–99 lb) for females.
What is Cheetah?
The cheetah is a large cat of the Felidae family that occurs in parts of Africa and Persia. The only extant member of the genus Acinonyx, the cheetah was first described by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1775. The cheetah is characterized by a slender body, deep chest, spotted coat, small rounded head, black tear-like streaks on the face, long thin legs, and long spotted tail. Its lightly built, the empty-calorie physique makes it the fastest land animal—capable of running at 70 to 75 km/h (43 to 47 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft). However, its thinner frame leaves it more vulnerable to loss of body heat and makes it less able to survive extended frigid temperatures or climb trees like other cats can escape inclement weather or predators.
Difference between a Leopard and a Cheetah
Both leopards and cheetahs are members of the Felidae family, which includes all species of cats. Leopards are larger than cheetahs, with males weighing up to 160 pounds and females up to 90 pounds. Cheetahs are smaller, with males averaging around 120 pounds and females around 80 pounds. The biggest difference between these two cats is their spots. Leopard spots are rosettes, which are clusters of small circles that are grouped together. Cheetah spots are simple stripes. Another difference is that leopards have long tails that they use for balance when they are running, while cheetahs have shorter tails that they use to change direction quickly when they are chasing prey. Finally, cheetahs can run up to 70 miles per hour, while leopards only reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
Though they may look similar, there are some key differences between leopards and cheetahs. Leopards are more versatile in their habitats and can live in a wider range of environments than cheetahs. Cheetahs also have shorter claws which make it difficult for them to climb trees as leopards can. Finally, the spots on a cheetah’s fur are usually smaller and more densely packed than those on a leopard. These distinctions mean that each animal has adapted specifically to survive in its own environment, making them both fascinating creatures worth learning about.