How Fast Is A Leopard? | Bite-Sized Knowledge

How Fast Is A Leopard

GENUS: Panthera

NAME: Panthera pardus

SIZE: 57 to 70 cm (22 to 27 in)

WEIGHT: 28 to 90 kg (62 to 198 lb)

LIFESPAN: 10 to 12 years in the wild and up to 23 years in captivity

Leopards are my favorite big cats. I love them because they’re powerful and very adaptable. But how do they compare speed-wise to other big cats?

How fast is a leopard? Leopards can run fast but they are not the fastest cats in the wild. Their top speed is 36 mph or 58 km/h which puts them in the last spot among big cats.

They do not rely solely on speed to catch their prey, after all, most of their prey is faster than they are. For example, impalas can run up to 55 mph or 90 km/h.

Leopards hunt mainly during the night and rely on their acute senses of hearing and vision for hunting. They prey on more than 100 different species of animals, including giraffes!

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The leopard stalks its prey and tries to approach it as close as possible, typically within 16 ft or 5 m of the target, and finally pounces on it and kills it by suffocation. Small prey is eaten immediately, while larger carcasses are dragged over several hundred meters and safely cached in trees, bushes or even caves to be consumed later.

The term “big cat” is typically used to refer to any of the five living members of the genus Panthera, namely tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard. All of the species can roar, except for snow leopard.

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Is Leopard Faster Than A Tiger?

Leopard and tiger have many of the same characteristics, after all, they are part of the same family. But there are some big differences as well – mainly the size and strength.

Tigers are bigger, heavier and stronger than leopards but also faster. Yes, tigers are faster than leopards although the difference in speed is only by a few miles; 40 mph against 36 mph.

Leopards are famous for climbing up the trees but tigers are also capable climbers but seldom do so when they become adults.

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Is Leopard Faster Than A Lion?

In a race between a lion and a leopard, the lion is the faster cat. Much faster. It’s like you’re racing a car against a scooter. Lion can go up to 50 mph while the leopard only goes up to 36 mph.

Leopards are solitary cats and that’s the reason why they often get killed by a pride of lions. A study conducted in the Greater Kruger Park found that lions account for over 20% of leopard deaths.

They can also get bullied by other predators like hyenas whose strength in numbers allow them to easily chase the cats off their kills. But luckily, leopards drag their prey up the trees and can then eat it in peace.

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Is Leopard Faster Than A Jaguar?

Wait, aren’t jaguars and leopards the same animal? No, they’re not! But yes, both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. Oh my!

How can you tell them apart then? First of all, they live on different continents. Jaguars inhabit South America, while leopards are found throughout most of Africa and Asia.

Leopards are also smaller, lighter, and their rosettes are generally smaller, more densely packed and without central spots.

What about speed? Well, jaguars are much faster than leopards. They are also much bolder and would attack an animal that is bigger than they are. Luckily they live on different continents I guess.

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Is Leopard Faster Than A Cheetah?

I think you already know the answer to this question. Cheetahs are famous for their top speed which is more than double that of a leopard. Estimates of their top speed range from 50 to 80 mph or 80 to 128 km/h.

Although cheetahs are not part of the 5 “big cats”, they are often compared to them. Cheetahs are the fastest land animals and are perfectly adapted for speed, including a light build, long thin legs and a long tail.

LionTigerLeopardJaguarCheetah
Panthera leoPanthera tigrisPanthera pardusPanthera oncaAcinonyx jubatus
50 mph40 mph36 mph 64 mph80 mph
80 km/h64 km/h58 km/h103 km/h128 km/h
Top speed of Big cats + Cheetahs

Sources:

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.