The Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) is an endangered wild cat subspecies of the Leopard (Panthera pardus). It is also known as the Caucasian Leopard.
The Persian Leopard has a strong, stocky body, with short legs and broad paws. It is light in colour, with variations from pale to dark. It hasblack markings on its head and neck, and larger rosette shapes on its back, sides, and tail. It has a whitish underbelly. Its nose is short and broad. Its tail is bushy, long, and flexible. Its eyes are pale-green or grey. Its ears are small and rounded.
It measures about 158-168 centimetres (62-66 inches) in length. Its tail measures about 94 centimetres (37 inches) long.
The Persian Leopard is native to the Caucasus region, from Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, southern Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
It avoids human activity. It likes forests, rocky slopes, mountain steppes, and rugged ravines.
It is nocturnal, hunting at night. It eats mammals, such as ibex, sheep, wild boar, deer and gazelle, as well as smaller mammals, such as porcupines and hares.
It is solitary.
Like other large cats, the Persian Leopard is pregnant for 90-100 days, before giving birth to 1-5 young, called cubs. The cubs are born in a rocky den or rock crevice. They are born with fur, but are born blind. Their eyes open after about 7 days and they are independent after about 18-22 months.
The average lifespan of the Persian Leopard is 15 years in the wild.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM