African leopards exhibit great variation in coat color, depending on location and habitat. Coat color varies from pale yellow to deep gold or tawny, and is patterned with black rosettes while the head, lower limbs and belly are spotted with solid black. Male leopards are larger, averaging 60 kg (132 lb) with 91 kg (200 lb) being the maximum weight attained by a male. Females weigh about 35–40 kg (75–90 lb) on average. They are significantly smaller in the mountains of the Cape Provinces with males averaging 32 kg (70 lb) and females 20 kg (45 lb).
Diet and hunting
Leopards have a very varied diet, which includes insects, rodents, reptiles, and even large mammals, and will occasionally take domestic livestock when other food is scarce. They are very strong and they have been known to carry prey many times their own weight (such as Blue Wildebeest) up into trees to protect the carcass from scavengers. They are the only big cat who can carry their prey up into a tree. They are nocturnal and usually don’t hunt until dusk, however, they are opportunists and will hunt in the daylight when necessary.Leopards are very stealthy and like to stalk close and run a relatively short distance after their prey. They kill through suffocation by grabbing their prey by the throat and biting down with their powerful jaws. They rarely fight other predators for their food.
African Leopards inhabit a wide range of habitats within Africa, from mountainous forests to grasslands and savannahs, excluding only extremely sandy desert. However they are most abundant in undisturbed rainforest. Leopards are most at risk in areas of semi-desert, where scarce resources often result in conflict with nomadic farmers and their livestock. Like most large mammals, they are generally absent in areas with a high population density of people.