Saturday, November 27, 2010
Leopards lead big cats in survival
Leopards. Of all the big cats in the wild, leopards turn out to be the most successful at surviving today, according to a recent “Nature” program (“Revealing the Leopard”) on TV. Their first habitat was the African rain forest; now, scattered thinly through Africa and Asia, they cover nearly half the world.
Why and how are leopards succeeding?
Described as “the perfect predator,” the “clever” leopard – though slower than the cheetah and weaker than the lion, hunts with his/her wits. Usually nocturnal, leopards are shy and private, and careful killers. They also eat a wider range of prey than all other predators in the world.
Leopards are particularly adaptable, having learned of necessity to live in or near towns and cities; in India, for instance, they’re much more adaptable than lions and tigers.
One theory behind why leopards don’t eat humans is that prehistoric people may have terrified them; even now they avoid people.
“Panthers” are black leopards because a recessive gene has given them their different fur color. Think of red-haired humans; same thing.