Spider-man of the animal world

Rakesh Shukla


The leopard is the smallest species of the genus Panthera but is muscular and its head, neck and forelimbs are very strong. Photo: Vijayarajan Muthu
Caves and rock shelters are the usual haunts of this predator. Photo: Shravna Goswami
The leopard’s prey is generally small- to medium-sized common wild and domestic mammals, but it is adaptable as far as its food habits and habitats are concerned. Photo: Neeraj Bantia
They can swiftly climb straight up a clean-boled tree. Photo: Neeraj Bantia
They prefer the safety of trees where they can keep their troublesome co-predators such as tigers at bay. Photo: Indranil Paul
The solid black melanistic colour variant of the leopard is not a different species. Photo: Manju Hegde
Because there are a very small number of black leopards, their location is generally kept secret. Photo: Manju Hegde
Leopards are inherently shrewd and excellent at camouflage. Photo: Nikhil Trivedi
They are nocturnal and generally hunt at night. Photo: Indranil Paul
An alert adult taking stock of its surroundings. Photo: Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
Leopards are prolific breeders, with a gestation period that is only three months long. Here, a mother and cub. Photo: Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
Generally elusive, the leopard is a great attraction for tourists. Photo: Neeraj Bantia
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