Leopards (Panthera pardus) are the smallest members of the Panthera genus, and grow up to 100-150 cm long, and can weigh up to 30-50 kg (66-110 lb). They have one of the longest tails -- relative to the rest of the body, and have relatively much stronger scapular muscles, which allow them to climb trees with ease.
Like tigers or jaguars (and unlike lions), leopards are extremely solitary hunters. They establish large ranges and don't tolerate any intrusions except for mates. Even breeding males and females are only together for a few days. Two male leopards will never share a territory, although siblings may tolerate each other.
Africa is the only continent where you can still find a healthy population of this wild cat. The African leopard's range covers eastern and central Africa and some fragmented regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Asia it is still found in some Southwest and Central Asian regions, but in marginal population. In northeast Asia, leopards are crucially endangered animals. However, in the Indian subcontinent, China and southeast Asia, a strong population of leopards is found, though fragmented.
Their habitat consists of dense bushes around rocky areas. Riverine forest areas are also among their favorite habitats. Their supreme adaptability is the key to their survival as they manage to survive the loss of their habitat to human population, surviving in close proximity to humans in many areas.
Leopards in the African savannah feed onzebras, gazelles, impalas, and macaques, whereas leopards in the scrublands and temperate forests of India feed on chital (spotted deer), sambar deer, and Hanuman langurs. They also kill apes such as chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas, though they usually don't attack an adult male ape.
Like many other predators, the biggest threat to leopards comes from habitat destruction and poaching by humans. The leopard's former range extended from South Africa to Egypt, and from Morocco to Korea and southeastern stretches of Russia.
Despite being smaller than average humans, leopards, who are capable of killing adult chimps and gorillas, can easily overpower humans. Two infamous man-eating leopards, the Rudraprayag leopard and the Panar leopard, were said to have killed more than 125 and 400 people respectively.