Our Beautiful World

Cheetah, Gepard and (or?) Leopard  



Cheetah, Gepard, Acinonyx jubatus

Family Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Acinonyx
Cheetah, Gepard, Acinonyx jubatus

Gepard og Leopard

The Gepard, Acinonyx jubatus, is sometimes mistaken for a leopard, Panthera pardus.One reason is that the englishmen
calls a gepard for a 'hunter-leopard', Cheetah) - and that just gives more to increase the confusion.

Compared to the gepard, the leopard is much stronger and build tighter. The leopard fur is mostly covered by round spots
with lighter front The head is larger and heavier, the legs are shorter. Leopards also show a great diversity in coat color
and rosette patterns. Their rosettes are circular in East Africa but tend to be squarer in southern Africa and larger in
Asian populations

ARKive video - Cheetah chasing a male impala
Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus
Click on picture for video
© wildlifeact.com

Leopard and gepard. Notice the b lack spots on the leopard to the left, and the black strok from the eye
down to the mouth on the gepard to the right.

The cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus. is a large-sized feline (family Felidae) inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East.
The cheetah is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx, most notable for modifications in the species' paws.
As such, it is the only felid with non-retractable claws and pads that, by their scope, disallow gripping (therefore cheetahs
cannot climb vertical trees, although they are generally capable of reaching easily accessible branches).

The cheetah, however, achieves by far the fastest land speed of any living animal—between 112 and 120 km/h
(70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over
100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds.

It happens that one comes too near..
Photographer: Gerard D. Hertel, http://www.forestryimages.org/

There are several geographically isolated populations of cheetah, all of which are found in Africa or southwestern Asia.
A small population (estimated at about fifty) survive in the Khorasan Province of Iran, where conservationists are taking
steps to protect them.. There have also been several unconfirmed reports of Asiatic Cheetahs in the Balochistan province of
Pakistan, with at least one dead animal being discovered recently.

The cheetah thrives in areas with vast expanses of land where prey is abundant. The cheetah likes to live in an open biotope,
such as semidesert, prairie, and thick brush, though it can be found in a variety of habitats. In Namibia, for example, it lives in
grasslands, savannahs, areas of dense vegetation, and mountainous terrain.

In much of its former range, the cheetah was tamed by aristocrats and used to hunt antelopes in much the same way
as is still done with members of the greyhound group of dogs.

Gepard hunting

The savannah is the right place for the fastest animal on earth. On shorter distances it can reach a speed of 100 km an hour.

The color of the gepard is an excellent camouflage in the dry gras on the savannahs.
With such a 'dress' it can come very close upon the prey without being see. Notice picture above. .

Females give birth to up to nine cubs after a gestation period of ninety to ninety-eight days, although the average litter size is
three to five. Cubs weigh from 150 to 300 g (5.3 to 11 oz) at birth. Unlike some other cats, the cheetah is born with its
characteristic spots.

© http://www.awf.org/wildlives/

Unlike males, females are solitary and tend to avoid each other, though some mother/daughter pairs have been known to be formed for small periods of time. The cheetah has a unique, well-structured social order. Females live alone, except when they
are raising cubs and they raise their cubs on their own. The first eighteen months of a cub's life are important; cubs must learn
many lessons, because survival depends on knowing how to hunt wild prey species and avoid other predators. At eighteen
months, the mother leaves the cubs, who then form a sibling ("sib") group that will stay together for another six months.
At about two years, the female siblings leave the group, and the young males remain together for life.

Males are often social and may group together for life, usually with their brothers in the same litter; although if a cub is the
only male in the litter then two or three lone males may form a group, or a lone male may join an existing group.
These groups are called coalitions. In one Serengeti, 41% of the adult males were solitary, 40% lived in pairs and 19% in trios.

Leopard, Panthera pardus

Family Felidae
Subfamily Pantherinae
Genus Panthera
Panthera leo (lion)
Panthera onca (jaguar) Panthera onca arizonensis
Panthera pardus (leopard)
Panthera pardus delacouri (Indo-Chinese leopard)
Panthera pardus fusca (Indian leopard)
       synonym: Panthera pardus pernigra (Nepalese leopard)
Panthera pardus japonensis (North China leopard)
Panthera pardus jarvesi (Judean Desert leopard)
Panthera pardus kotiya (Sri Lanka leopard)
Panthera pardus melas (Java leopard)
Panthera pardus nimr (Arabian leopard)
      synonym: Panthera pardus jarvisi (Sinai leopard)
       not the same as Judean Desert leopard
Panthera pardus orientalis (Amur leopard)
Panthera pardus pardus (African leopard)
      synonym: Panthera pardus panthera (Barbary leopard)
      synonym: Panthera pardus adersi (Zanzibar leopard)
Panthera pardus saxicolor (Persian leopard)
Panthera pardus sickenbergi (European leopard) †
Panthera pardus tulliana (Anatolian leopard)

Panthera tigris (tiger) Panthera tigris altaica (Siberian tiger)
Panthera uncia or Uncia uncia (Snow 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 was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat.
It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka,
Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a "Near Threatened"
species on the IUCN Red List.

Leopards may sometimes be confused with two other large spotted cats, the cheetah, with which it may co-exist in Africa,
and the jaguar, a neotropical species that it does not naturally co-exist with. However, the patterns of spots in each are different: the cheetah has simple black spots, evenly spread; the jaguar has small spots inside the polygonal rosettes; while the leopard normally has rounder, smaller rosettes than those of the jaguar. The cheetah has longer legs and a thinner build that makes it
look more streamlined and taller but less powerfully built than the leopard. The jaguar is more similar in build to the leopard
but is generally larger in size and has a more muscular, bulky appearance.

Compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull.
It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those
of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the
jaguars do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic (completely black or very dark) are known as black panthers.

Leopard sleeping.... - and two gepards

The species' success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to
run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy
carcass, and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch.
Its habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains.

Leopards are agile and stealthy predators. Although smaller than other members of the Panthera genus, they are able to
take large prey due to their massive skulls that facilitate powerful jaw muscles.

Head and body length is between 95 and 165 cm , and the tail reaches 60 to 110 cm . Shoulder height is 45 to 80 cm
. The muscles attached to the scapula are exceptionally strong, which enhance their ability to climb trees.
They are very diverse in size. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 30 to 91 kg compared to 23 to 60 kg
for females.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard

Clouded Leopard, No: Treleopard, Neofelis nebulosa

Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae

Genus Neofelis
Clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa
Sunda clouded leopard, Neofelis diardi
Neofelis specimens and their range

The clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa, are only found in Southeast Asia, ranging from Nepal, northeast India, Bangladesh
and the eastern
Himalayas through southern China as far north as Wuyi Shan, to western Malaysia and Indochina.
In Assam, clouded leopards have been observed in forests but have not been recorded in protected areas. They occur in
northern West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

Clouded leopards prefer closed forest. They live in tropical and subtropical forests at altitudes of up to about 2,000 m .
They are sometimes found in mangrove swamps and grassland. Clouded leopard live in temperatures from 18 to 49 °C .

Clouded leopards have a tan or tawny coat, and are distinctively marked with large, irregularly-shaped, dark-edged ellipses
which are said to be shaped like clouds. This unique appearance gave the cat both its common and scientific species
name—nebulosus is Latin for "cloudy". The clouded leopard was confusing to scientists for a long time because of its
appearance and skeleton. It seemed to be a cross between a big cat and a small cat.


The average clouded leopard typically weighs between 15 and 23 kilograms, and has a shoulder height of 25 to 40 centimetres.
Females have a head-body length varying from 68 to 94 centimetres , with a 61 to 82 centimetres tail, while the males are
larger at 81 to 108 centimetres with a 74 to 91 centimetres tail. Clouded leopards have a heavy build and, proportionately,
the longest canine teeth of any living felid—of 5.1 cm, about the same as a tiger's These characteristics led early researchers to
speculate that they preyed on large land-dwelling mammals..

As might be expected from the fact some of its prey lives in trees, the clouded leopard is an excellent climber. Short, flexible
legs, large paws, and sharp claws combine to make it very sure-footed in the canopy. The clouded leopard's tail can be as long
as its body, further aiding in balance, giving it a squirrel-like agility similar to the margay of South America. Surprisingly,
this arboreal creature can climb while hanging upside-down under branches, and descend tree trunks head-first. In captivity,

Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than
10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults..
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clouded_leopard


The images used herein, except where otherwise stated, were obtained from
IMSI's MasterClips(MasterPhotos(C) Collection,
1895 Francisco Blvd.East, San Rafael, CA 94901-5506, USA


over 250


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