Leopard – The Ghost of the Forest
Not just being my favourite amongst the wild cats, Leopards also are the most versatile of the wild cats.
Masters of stealth, it is learnt that in most cases of an ambush the leopards succeed almost 80-85% of the distance in the shadows without being spotted and shock their prey with the attack making the last 5 to 10 meters of the strike in a few leaps.
Strong as Strong can be, Leopards are known for their amazing strength & are even said to be the Strongest amongst all of the big cats pound for pound.
Agile & Acrobatic, master tree climbers and are also seen making an ambush from treetops. Recently I also saw a documentation of a leopard leaping what seemed like a good 25-30 feet from a tree top onto a Gazelle that was cluelessly grazing below. There has been documentation of leopards leaping from tree to tree to try and make a kill as well as to avoid conflicts.
Adaptability embedded deep in them, they have successfully been able to adapt themselves to change constantly and that stands to be one of the reasons for their survival despite the constant meddling with their ways by us humans. They can pretty much survive on anything from bugs, fish, antelope, monkeys, rodents, deer…in fact, pretty much any prey that is available!
They have a mystery to them that can leave anyone spellbound no matter how many ever times they have seen them in the wild.
Mystery, a necessary attribute of the elusive that leaves the banal rest inquisitive – Sanket Reddy
Leopards are abundant in Indian forests and so are in South Indian forests but are very tough to spot them. There are high chances of spotting Leopards in Kabini, Bandipur, Nagzira, Dandeli etc.
There is no actual species called the panther, however, “panther” is a name given to either leopards or jaguars that have all black coats, due to an excess of the dark pigment melanin. They can also be referred to as melanistic leopards or melanistic jaguars.