Cheetah vs Leopard

Who would win in a battle between these two amazing animals?

Cheetahs and leopards are both big felines residing in the sub-Saharan African region and some parts of Asia.

Cheetahs have tan fur, whereas leopards have a more yellowish fur.

Cheetahs are spotted hunting their prey during the day, whereas leopards usually hunt during nighttime.

They also bear differences in other physical and habitual attributes. Cheetahs are famous for their swiftness and are one of the speediest animals on the globe.

Now let’s compare the outer features of these two animals.

A cheetah has a deep chest and narrow waist with a short torso. Their fur is a light tan brown with black spots that are usually 2 to 3 cm in diameter. It also has a pale underbelly with no black pots and 4-6 darker rings at the tip of its tail that falls under a rich white tuft.

An adult cheetah has an average weight of 46 to 160 pounds and stretches 43 to 59 inches in length, head to body, with a tail measuring 24 to 33 inches.

Males are typically a tad larger than females. They also have semi-retractable claws they can purr but not exactly roar.

Leopards have fairly short legs, long cores, and huge skulls with a robust jawline.

Their skull and body length measure between 35 to 75 inches and their tail is between 24 to 43 inches on average.

Males are about 30% bigger than females, weighing on average between 66 to 200 pounds whereas females weigh between 51 and 130 pounds.

Leopards gave a yellowish fur with small black dots inside multi-angle rosettes.

Range and Habitat

Cheetahs are located in Africa and S.W Asia. A smaller population of Cheetahs also inhabits the Khorasan province in Iran.

Cheetahs need larger ranges of land with enough prey available. They are mostly found in semi-dry areas, prairies, and dense bushlands.

Leopards are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, with smaller groups found in central and S.W Asia, including the N.E Asia subcontinent.

They are considered critically endangered species. You can see leopards hovering over grasslands, forests, and wood areas near water.

Their Behavior

Cheetahs do not roar but they chirp to find each other.

They are carnivores and most feed on animals under 80 pounds such as the impala, the gazelle, and the springbok. When in groups, they can also go after zebras and wildebeests.

Cheetahs are diurnal which means they usually hunt during the day, especially in the early morning and early evening.

They hunt with their vision rather than their smell and usually stalk their prey before attacking them in one swift movement.

Leopards are solitary felines and unlike cheetahs are mainly active during the nighttime.

They are fairly strong and have a rich diet that features anything from dung beetles and insects to massive eelains. Their prey typically weighs no more than 440 pounds and it usually includes primates and ungulates.

The hunt for the most part between the sunset and the sunrise 24-hour cycle.

Cheetahs are one of the few species of felines that live longer in captivity. More specifically, they live up to 10 years in the wild and up to 17 years in captivity.

Females start falling pregnant at around 21 or 22 months old. They usually breed during the hot season, with cubs born at the onset of the wet season.

The average female cheetah has 1 to 3 cubs, although they can sometimes give birth to up to 9 cubs. The cubs are weaned from their mother once they reach 3 months.

Leopards tend to live longer in the wild, with an average lifespan between 12-17 years and up to 21 years in captivity.

Leopards mate and breed all year round and they can have up to 4 cubs. The cubs follow their mother for 18 to 24 months.

Their Conservation Status

Cheetahs are enlisted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered species.

Approx. 12400 cheetahs live in the wild. Their population status is partly due to the high mortality frequency of born cubs, due to lion and other predator attacks, and due to low genetic variance which can lead to birth defects.

Leopards are also listed as endangered species by the same conservation organization because of their decreasing geographical range and population.

Their population is estimated to be at least 50K in the wild.

Interaction with humans

Cheetahs are not known to attack or eat humans and they are far less aggressive compared to other feline species. In ancient times, they were also taken as pets, especially by the ancient Egyptians and the Genghis Khan civilizations.

However, many farmers go after them, assuming that they eat cattle, even though there are studies showing that cheetahs rarely engage in such behavior.

Cheetahs are not generally aggressive towards humans unless they are triggered. Some zoos will even allow humans close to cheetahs to boost awareness of their non-aggressive nature.

Leopards typically avoid human encounters and go after wild prey. On some occasions though, wounded or injured leopards may attack humans if their usual prey is not available.

In India, there have been reports of a single leopard called the “leopard of Rudraprayag” killing more than 125 humans while the Pinal leopard is reported to have killed more than 400, aggravated by a poacher who left it incapable of hunting its usual prey.

Leopards are fierce and will occasionally step into human inhabited areas. In 2012, two people were reported to be killed by leopards.

If a person comes across a leopard, they should flee in an internal space, avoiding provoking it or throwing stones at it.

Most leopards will simply ignore people if they leave them alone.

So who would win a fight between a leopard and a cheetah?
Before we answer this question, let’s share with you some interesting facts about the two.

The cheetah participated in a huge bottleneck event in the past. Essentially, all cheetahs nowadays are related to one another. Their low genetic variance is important to grasp as this is what makes them less powerful than other cats.

They also suffer from health issues as they grow older, however, they have survived through this fact.

Unlike other felines, they don’t evolve. They are so genetically similar that no element of natural selection can be enforced to benefit them. Their DNA is fixed and they are not evolving as animal species.

On the contrary, leopards are in a more promising and powerful evolutionary place as tracking predators. Their teeth are evolving to this attribute so they can jump on top of their prey and pierce them with their powerful spiked teeth.

Cheetahs are far too sensitive and aren’t developed enough for a fight.

Leopards, on the contrary, are the animal equivalent of a middle-weight or light heavyweight champion rank.

Therefore, in this fight, the leopard will come out victorious.

Cheetahs may surpass leopards at speed, running around 40 miles per hour, but their stamina and strength don’t compare to that of cheetahs.

They often carry impalas and antelopes with a weight of up to 200 pounds, carrying their kills over trees so they can eat them alone. They also feed on more dangerous prey animals like crocs and wildebeest.

As for cheetahs, they typically go after what flees, hence their incredible speed. They rarely go after bigger and more dangerous animals like zebras and ostriches, especially when they are in groups.

So yes, we have a clear winner here and it’s the leopard.

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