Big Cat of Masai Mara
BASICS FACTS ABOUT AFRICAN LEOPARDS – BIG CAT OF MASAI MARA
One of the Big Cats of Masai Mara is an African Leopard. African Leopard can be traced to Masai Mara Reserve. We will focus on African Leopard on this post.
The leopard botanically known as Panthera pardus is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cat” the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. There are nine recognized subspecies of leopard and all can be found in Asia, South Asia, and India except the African leopard. Leopards are carnivores, but they aren’t picky eaters. They will prey on any animal that comes across their paths, such as Thomson’s gazelles, cheetah cubs, baboons, rodents, monkeys, snakes, large birds, amphibians, fish, antelopes, warthogs, and porcupines.
Leopard Undergo a gestation period of about 90 – 105 days of which one to six kittens are born. The average litter size is two or three. Kittens weigh about one pound when they are born. They will stay with their mother for 18 to 24 months.
When female leopards are ready to mate they will mate with many of the dominant males near her territory. This takes away the risk of the cubs being killed by one of the rival dominate males because they will think that the cubs are theirs.
Cubs of a Leopard are born blind and are completely dependent on their mothers. Their eyes begin to open after about ten or more days and for the first few months, their eyes are bright blue. They will stay with their mothers for approximately two years, this is how they learn to hunt and survive on their own.
Other Interesting Facts about the Big cat of Masai Mara – African Leopard
- Leopards are very strong such that they are able to climb trees, even when carrying heavy prey, and often choose to rest on tree branches during t, the day. One reason why leopards sometimes take their prey up in the trees is to ensure lions or hyenas can’t steal them.
- These Cats are also renowned for their agility. They run up to 58km/h and can leap 6m horizontally and 3m vertically.
- On the other hand, they are extremely difficult to trace and locate in the wild. They are the most elusive and secretive of the large felids
- Have the widest range of habitats of all the big cats. This adaptability has allowed them to survive in various different geographic areas. Perhaps the most extreme example is the amazing snow leopard that lives in the Himalayas.
- In their life, Leopards tend to have two or three cubs per gestation. Mothers refrain from wandering their territories after giving birth until their young are capable to come with them. Cubs suckle for around 3 months and are kept hidden for about the first 8 weeks to protect them from predators.
- Are predominantly solitary animals that have large territories. While male territories are larger than females and tend to overlap, individuals usually only tolerate intrusion into ranges for mating. They mark their ranges with urine and leave claw marks on trees to warn others to stay away.
- Like cats kept as companions, leopards will growl when angry and purr when content. They have various vocalizations such as a rasping cough which they perform to announce their presence to other leopards.
- This animal is very adaptive by nature as it can sustain in any type of environment. Also, it is a very successful hunter.
- They prefer to hunt at night. It’s interesting to know that each leopard has its identified hunting territory. They mark it with their claws and urine. They don’t like invading the hunting range of others.
- Female leopards leave a unique scent and rub their body against the trees to leave her smell there as an indication that they are ready to mate.
- The life expectancy of a leopard living in the wild is generally 12 – 15 years and a leopard living in a zoo has a life expectancy of about 23 years.
- African Leopards are also good swimmers and love to be in the water. This is why they’re quite good at hunting fish and crabs.