The Prince of Stealth

While watching the endless and fascinating parade of wildlife in the Serengeti, I am always reminded of what extraordinary athletic skills the various animals possess. With many of you gearing up for your safari-of-a-lifetime with ADS, I thought I would share some “leopard facts” with you.

Together with the hyena, this beautiful feline is the most successful of all the carnivores and is certainly the mostly widely spread of all the cats throughout both Asia and Africa. The leopard’s success is due to its adaptability -it is able to live in environments varying from lowland rainforest to desert. In fact a leopard was even found frozen in an icecap on the summit of Kilimanjaro.

In areas where human encroachment has reduced their territory, they are able to live comfortably in an urban environment eating anything from insects to mice and more – many a family pet continues to disappear in Nairobi and seeing that they can easily take down a 300 pound young topi or wildebeest, they are not particularly fearful of man either. This is one reason why you don’t want to walk around unescorted at night when on safari.

Leopards can accelerate up to 37 miles per hour and here are the two points that I find particularly impressive: they can jump up to 20 feet from a standing position (I tried to see how I well I could compete and have decided not to share the results with anyone) and, a female leopard weighing around 128 pounds, can drag a 150 impala ram almost vertically up a tree.

Particularly good places to see leopard include Loliondo /the Buffalo Springs area, Lobo Valley, the Seronera River Valley and Tarangire National Park, so keep your camera ready.

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