The leopard and cheetah are two felines that are very similar in appearance, so they can easily be confused.
So, what exactly is the difference between leopards and cheetahs? Let's find out together.
1. Biological classification
The leopard and the cheetah are two completely different species, where the leopard belongs to the cat family Leopardidae, while the cheetah belongs to the cat family Cheetahidae, from the biological classification, they have been differentiated from the subfamily, just like the difference between a tiger and a cat.
Although both leopards and cheetahs have spots on their bodies and their coats are similar in color, there is one obvious difference between them: cheetahs have two distinct black "tear marks" on their faces, while leopards do not.
Secondly, the spots on the leopard are hollow and rose-shaped, while the spots on the cheetah are solid.
3. Body size
The leopard is the fourth largest extant cat, after the tiger, lion, and jaguar, with an average body length of about 2.3 meters and an average weight of about 60 kg.
The cheetah is also a "big cat", with an average length of 2.2 meters, but its average weight is only about 40 kg.
With a similar length and a difference of 40 pounds, the leopard looks stout, while the cheetah looks more slender.
Because of this, the cheetah is faster, with its fastest speed reaching 110 km/h, while the leopard's fastest speed is just between 60-70 km/h.
Cheetahs often cooperate in hunting, while leopards are solitary.
Secondly, the leopard likes to be in the trees, except for hunting, where it rests and stores its prey by hanging it in the trees. Cheetahs do not climb trees, they usually perch in the tall grass and often stand on large rocks to observe their surroundings.
5. Who is stronger, the leopard or the cheetah?
From our introduction to the difference between leopards and cheetahs above, leopards are much larger and sturdier than cheetahs, which makes them more explosive than cheetahs.
Secondly, the length of the leopard's canine teeth is around 3.5 cm on average, 1 cm longer than that of the cheetah. In terms of bite force, the leopard's bite force is around 260 kg on average, while the cheetahs are only around 160 kg.
In addition, to have a better grip when running at high speed, the cheetah's claws are no longer free to expand and retract, and the long time friction with the ground makes its claws coarse and blunt, while the leopard's claws are retracted into the claw sheath when not in use, so they are very sharp.
Therefore, whether in terms of size or aggressiveness, the leopard is far stronger than the cheetah. Moreover, in Africa, one of the main natural enemies of the cheetah is the leopard, which often takes advantage of the fact that the cheetah has finished hunting and consumed a lot of energy or is hiding to sneak up on a passing cheetah, in which case the leopard can almost kill the cheetah in seconds.