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leopard, large carnivore of the cat family, Panthera pardus, widely distributed in Africa and Asia. It is commonly yellow, buff, or gray, patterned with black spots and rings. The rings, unlike those of the New World jaguar, never have spots inside them. Black leopards are commonly called panthers, a name sometimes used for all leopards. They are not a distinct species but merely a color variant caused by melanism, or excessive pigmentation. Close inspection reveals the typical spotting, which is obscured by the darkness of the background.

Leopards are somewhat smaller than lions and tigers; the largest males are about 7 ft (2.3 m) long, including the 3-ft (90-cm) tail. Leopards are solitary, largely nocturnal, and good climbers; they hunt both on the ground and in trees. They prey mostly on small animals such as monkeys, rodents, and birds. Leopards are found in much of Africa south of the Sahara and in parts of Asia from Israel to Korea and Indonesia. They are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range, owing primarily to loss of their natural habitat and to illegal killing for Asian folk medicine.

A related species is the snow leopard, or ounce, Uncia uncia or P. uncia, which replaces ordinary leopards in the high mountains of Central Asia. It has long whitish fur and diffuse spotting. In summer, when the mountain animals on which it preys range to high pastures, the snow leopard may climb to an altitude of 13,000 ft (3,900 m). It usually hunts at dusk or at night. More distantly related are the clouded leopards, Neofelis nebulosa of SE Asia and Neofelis diardi (Sunda clouded leopard) of Borneo and Sumatra; they were considered a single species until the early 21st cent. The coat is more tawny and lighter in the clouded leopard, more gray and darker in the Sunda clouded leopard. Both have coats strikingly marked with black and brown; there are stripes on the face and tail, spots on the limbs, and rosettes on the body. The tail is exceptionally long and heavy and is thickly furred. Forest dwellers, clouded leopards are nocturnal and arboreal in their habits. Unlike the leopard, both the snow and clouded leopards do not roar. The clouded leopard is an endangered species; the snow leopard is considered vulnerable.

Leopards are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Felidae.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Felis pardus), a predatory mammal of the family Felidae.

The maximum body length of the leopard is 160 cm. Males weigh up to 75 kg; females weigh somewhat less. The body is elongated and muscular, and the legs are relatively short. The fur is thick and fluffy. Leopards are yellow or red with black spots. Sometimes black (melanistic) leopards are found (in India).

Leopards are found in Africa (except in the Sahara), Southwest Asia, and southern Asia; in the USSR—in the Caucasus (very rarely), in the mountains of southwestern and southern Turkmenia, the southern part of Tadzhikstan, and Ussuriisk Krai. Leopards inhabit remote forests and mountains. They hunt mainly ungulates (goats, sheep, deer). Sometimes they pursue domestic animals (sheep, horses, and dogs) and also birds and rodents. In India there are leopards that on rare occasions attack humans.

The number of leopards is steadily decreasing in all areas. Their number decreased especially sharply in the 1950’s and 1960’s in Africa because of the fashion for leopard coats. The decrease in the number of leopards has led to a sharp increase in the number of baboons, which badly damage crops.


Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 2. (Forthcoming.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
Felis pardus. A species of wildcat in the family Felidae found in Africa and Asia; the coat is characteristically buff-colored with black spots.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


represents meanness, sin, and the devil. [Animal Symbolism: Mercatante, 56]
See: Cruelty
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a large feline mammal, Panthera pardus, of forests of Africa and Asia, usually having a tawny yellow coat with black rosette-like spots
2. any of several similar felines, such as the snow leopard and cheetah
3. clouded leopard a feline, Neofelis nebulosa, of SE Asia and Indonesia with a yellowish-brown coat marked with darker spots and blotches
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Version 10.5 of the Mac OS X operating system, which runs on PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Released in October 2007, Leopard includes many enhancements and new features, including Time Machine, an automated backup utility; Spaces, a way to organize applications in separate "virtual" desktops; and Spotlight, a search capability across the network. Boot Camp, which allows users to install Windows on Intel-based Macs, is included rather than being an option.

Numerous enhancements were made to the basic OS X architecture, and several security enhancements were added. For example, Leopard supports code signing, which verifies that executable applications are not tampered with. Address space randomization places code randomly in memory rather than in predetermined locations that hackers are expecting. See Snow Leopard, Mac OS X and Boot Camp.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The M109A2 howitzers, M110A2 howitzers, CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks, CM11 armored vehicles, CM22 mortar carriers, and CM-32 and CM34 Clouded Leopards then leaped into action, inflicting heavy losses on the exposed ships.
Bokeo can be combined with Thailand's little-known parks, Kaeng Krachan and Klong Seang Wildlife Sanctuary for tracking wild elephants, clouded leopards, flying fox and more.
If we manage to maintain a link between forest fragments along the Kinabatangan, I believe that we can save the populations of Sunda clouded leopard, Malayan sun bear, Bornean elephant, orangutan, and other species.
scientists have discovered that the clouded leopard found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra is an entirely new species of cat, the conservationist group WWF International announced Thursday.
Todd Dalton wants to keep a clouded leopard, and a baby leopard if born, in a cage in Peckham, south London, as part of a breeding programme to protect the species.
The presentation of the leopard and two variants, the clouded leopard and the snow leopard, speaks vividly of life in the wild.
In the section on smaller cats the reader is introduced to some species they may never have heard of before: kodkod, pallas' cat, oncilla, clouded leopard of Asia, the jaguarundi and the margay.
In fact, a clouded leopard died of avian influenza in Thailand.
The canopy is home to the orangutan, the clouded leopard, and the greatest diversity of "flying" animals on Earth.
The clouded leopard died at Khao Khiew Zoo 44 miles south of Bangkok.
A Clouded leopard has died from bird flu in a Thai zoo.
The beautiful mountainside in Sikkim is also a biodiversity hotspot, with many unique fauna such as the clouded leopard and red panda under threat from poaching and habitat loss.