Back when the world was new, Leopard had no spots. Leopard loved to stretch out on a shady tree limb, wait for a tasty critter to come by and then pounce….! Leopard was so good at pouncing, that fewer and fewer animals dared to eat leaves from his tree. And the tree was so grateful to Leopard that it became his friend. If Leopard was hot, the tree would fan him with its branches. Soon all the animals wised up. They learned to stay away from Leopard’s tree. So Leopard had to come down from the tree to hunt. By now Leopard was very hungry!
But when Leopard came out of cover, he was easy to see in the forest and on the savannah veldt. All the animals ran away from him and hid. ‘Hunting is such hard work’, Leopard complained to the tree. If only I could wear your shadows. Then I could surprise the animals, and then ….pounce! ‘This is such a marvelous idea’, exclaimed the tree. ‘Here take these leaf shadows. I have plenty!’
I’ll take spots then’, thought the Leopard, ‘but don’t make ‘m too vulgar-big. I don’t want to look like Zebra of Giraffe -not for ever so!’. So Leopard licked the leaf shadows, and pressed them with his claws all over his fur. And wherever the paws touched the fur, they left five little black marks, all close together. Sometimes the claws slipped and the marks got a bit blurry. Yet they all had the form of rosettes.
Soon he was covered in spots and could not be seen easily by the other animals. He could lie out on the bare ground and looked lie a heap of pebbles. He could lie out on th enaked rocks and looked like a piece of pudding-stone. He could lie out on a leafy branch and looked like Sunshine sifting through the leaves; and he could lie right across the center of a path and looked like nothing in particular. From that day on, Leopard had spotted fur an he could pounce anywhere in the forest and on the savannah. You can see the rosettes on any Leopard’s skin you like. And althought sometimes they look a bit pale, if you look closely you will see that there are Always five spots together. And whenever Leopard is not pouncing, he will return to his beloved tree, whcih is where you will find him to this day. And by the way: he is quite content with his spots and he lived happily ever after!
PM: if you say that a leopard cannot change its spots, you mean that people of things are not able to change their basis characteristics no matter how hard they try. It is said especially when you are critical of those characteristics.
Eight fascinating facts about the Leopard
- What is the origin of the name ‘leopard’? The word comes from the French name ‘lupard’. The French again took this name from the Greek compound of lion and pardos: leo-pardus. The name reflects the fact that in antiquity, a leopard was believed to be a hybrid of a lion . (leo in Latin), and a panther (in Latin: panthera pardus).
- Leopards are renowned for their agility. They run up to 36 mph for brief periods, and can leap 20 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically. They are also very strong swimmers. Male leopards are much larger (about 50%) than their female counterparts but the females are equally as agile. A leopard’s tail is just about as long as its entire body. This helps it with balance and enables it to make sharp turns quickly.
- Despite being the smallest of big cats, Leopards are impressively strong – the strongest of the big cats. They can take prey as large as antelopes (it can take down an animal 12 times its weight). and a male leopard can drag prey three times its own weight.
- When female leopards are ready to mate they will mate with many of the dominate 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.
- Leopards are very intelligent hunters. Sometimes while hunting, they wil purposely produce a cracking with their paws. By doing so, they create chaos amongst their prey to find out which is the weakest or easy individual to catch. They are opportunistic feeders and hunters: if they find a weaker predator with a prey they will scar them away and eat their kill. They often drive cheetah away from their prey.
- This bulky cat is resident in bushy areas in almost all of Africa and in Southern Asia. It’s called panther in (eastern) Asia. The term ‘black panther’ refers to leopards with melanistic genes, so it’s a sort of albino, yet reversed in color. So these black panthers are not a subspecies, yet a leopard with a specific gene missing.
- These big cats have a varied diet and enjoy different kinds of grub. They eat bugs, fish, antelope, monkeys, rodents, deer…in fact, pretty much any prey that is available!
- The sense of smell of a leopard is very good, even better than the scent of the tiger. Also its hearing is very strong: a leopard can hear very high frequencies up to 100 kHz, even if the noise is very soft. The whiskers of a leopard also play an important role. They change their state, depending on what they do. When he walks, they are spread out sideways, while sniffing they stand backwards and when attacking a prey they are facing forward, to judge exactly where to deliver the killer blow.