Leopard

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Leopards (Panthera pardus) are one of the five 'big cats' of the genus Panthera. (The others are the lion, tiger, jaguar, and snow leopard.) There are between 7-30 subspecies of leopard.

[edit] Leopards, Jaguars and Black Panthers

Leopards are noted for their short sleek coat that varies greatly from pale straw and gray buff to bright, deep ochre and chestnut, and sometimes black (found mostly in wetter, dense forests). Large black spots grouped into rosettes on the shoulders, upper arms, back, flanks and haunches, and smaller scattered spots on the lower limbs, head, throat and chest, and the belly has large black blotches. They are also considered the most dangerous species among felines caused by their unpredictable and aggressive character. This large cat is sometimes confused in appearance with the South American Jaguar - the leopard though is less stocky and unlike the jaguar, its rosette markings are generally smaller and have no internal spots. Jaguars are also generally shaped like tigers, but of couse this can only be found out by very close examination. All black or melanistic leopards, sometimes commonly called ‘Black Panthers’, are born in the same litter as normally marked cats and also carry the rosette markings, although these are masked by the darkness of the fur.

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