The African Leopard on East Africa Safari : Leopards are big cats; they are outstanding and elusive animals. They belong to the Felidae family and in Africa; they are very common in the Sub-saharan areas.
Although they are really fast and stealthy animals in nature, they have short legs compared to other Felidae members, and among the best animals to see on your east Africa safari. It has spotted skins that helps it to camouflage therefore be able to hide from its predators. Leopards are more similar to the jaguar but smaller and they are both called black panthers.
They are among the big fives, with more chances of survival in the jungle than any other wildlife especially and this is so because they can easily adapt to all kinds of environment changes for example, they can adapt and survive in all kinds of environment like in the jungles, the deserts, around the mountain areas and anywhere else.
Where and how they live
Below are some of the places where the african leopard on East Africa safari can be spotted;
In Uganda, Leopards are in found in Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park, Lake Mburo national park, Queen Elizabeth national park and in Semuliki national parks. Because of their solitary nature, it is so hard to see them in a pair and the only time you see a pair of leopards is during the mating time. This explains why they are very few in number compared to animals that live in groups like the lions.
They spend most of their day hiding in trees and caves, only come out in the night to hunt. This makes them quite hard to see during the game drives much less take pictures of them for the photographers. The leopards stay away during day so as avoid an encounter with the lions, which sometimes kill them and then the hyenas, also pose a threat to the leopards by often snatching the leopard’s hunt away.
They are nocturnal animals, which means, the night game drives in places like Kidepo, Semliki national parks are the best places to see these animals. When you get the opportunity to see these animals, you will realize that the males are always about 50% larger than the females.
What they feed on and how they protect themselves.
Leopards are very strong animals and so they are capable of taking down a huge prey, one that is even 3 times larger.
Leopards are also good swimmers, which is why they can easily hunt for fish, the reptiles, the insects and any other animals in the water and those grazing near the water body. They also feed on domestic animals like the sheep, goats, pigs and the birds like the chicken if they happen to settle close to a community.
Mating period and reproduction
Leopards do not really have a specific period of the year to mate but their conception happens soon after mating.
The female stay pregnant for about 90-100 days before giving birth to usually four little ones called cubs. After giving birth, she will find a safe place for its little ones like a cave where she can raise these cubs. Regardless of the extreme care, there is still are very high mortality of the cubs which about 50%. The survivors will stay with their mother for like 1 ½ or 2 years, and during all that time they play with each other, they teach their little ones how to hunt on their own and keep themselves safe.
For an amazing leopard search, you should visit Kidepo valley national park or Semiliki national park and enjoy the night game drives with those trained guides and who knows, you may be lucky and spot a leopard as it hunts for food.