Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah (Leopard vs Cheetah)

leopard vs cheetah

Cheetahs and leopards are big cats found in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Leopards have yellow fur while cheetahs are tan. Cheetahs are known to hunt their prey during the daytime, whereas Leopards generally hunt during the night. They also differ in other physical and social characteristics. Cheetahs are known for their speed; they are the fastest animals on the planet.

Difference Between Cheetah and Leopard:

Scientific NameAcinonyx JubatusPanthera Pardus

Also read about black jaguar.

Difference Between Cheetah and Leopard:

Although the cheetah is taller at the shoulder than a leopard and hence it stands higher above the ground and is substantially more slender in build. Cheetah is diurnal, and they move more during the day rather than at night. Whereas leopards are nocturnal cats, running more frequently at night than during the day. 

Cheetah Body:

A cheetah is the fastest land animal and is known for its speed. They have long bodies with an unusually flexible spine that allows them to change their direction rapidly when the next prey. These cats will capture their prey by trapping them using their claws instead of leaping on them and therefore do not need much strength. 

Leopard Body:

On the other hand, a leopard is a stalk and pounce predator and needs to get close to its prey before leaping on it. The animal is much more stocky and robust, with much bigger muscles around the shoulders and neck. 

Cheetah Size:

The weight of a male cheetah is around 54 kg, whereas a female cheetah weighs about 43 kg. 

Leopard Size:

Male leopards weigh closer to 60 to 70 kg, and the females are around 30 to 40 kg. 

The Shape of the Tail:

The tail of a cheetah is much flatter; however, a leopard’s tail is much more tubular. The importance of the rear for a leopard is balance, correctly when they are lifting carcasses, climbing up and down trees, or fluttering on branches high above the ground.

Cheetah vs Leopard Spots:

Cheetahs have spots, whereas leopards have rosettes. The spot of a cheetah is bright, a black spot that can be separated from the other places on the cat’s body. A leopard, however, has smaller irregular shaped spots that assemble in circles to form a rosette.

Facial Markings:

Cheetah has a black tear mark streaked from the inner corner of their eyes and down to the cheeks. These markings are entirely missing from a leopard’s face. A cheetah also has more tan-colored eyes than the more green-blue color of a leopard’s eyes. 

Leopard Feet:

Leopards have bigger front feet than back feet because of their large heads and necks, necessary for lifting carcasses. The front feet carry the weight of the forequarters of the leopard and, therefore, bigger to compensate for this. 

Cheetah Feet:

Cheetah requires stormy speed and hence has substantial back feet that allow massive acceleration. 

Leopard Claws:

Leopards do not need much like a cheetah; they use their nails only when necessary, such as climbing trees, jumping on prey, or fighting.

Cheetah Claws:

Cheetah needs rapid acceleration, and because they turn at high speed, they have non-retractable claws, which give them extra friction. 

Also read difference between jaguar and leopard.

Cheetah versus Leopard: 

Cheetah Habitat:

Cheetah’s habitat in Africa and South-western Asia. A small population exists in the Khorasan province in Iran. They need vast land expansion with plenty of prey and tend to be found in the semi-desert, prairies, and thick bushes. 

Leopard Habitat:

Leopards are found in sub-Saharan Africa and have a small population in the southwest and central Asia, including the Indian sub-continent. In Northeast Asia, they are critically endangered. They are typically found in grasslands, woodlands, and riverine forests. 

Cheetah vs Leopard Speed:

Being the fastest land mammal in the world, the cheetah can reach up to 70 mph. On the other hand, leopards are not necessarily known for their speed; however, they can accelerate to 37 mph over short distances. 

Cheetah Lifecycle:

Cheetah lives between 8 and 10 years in the wild and up to 17 years in captivity. The animals are likely to breed during dry seasons with cubs born at the beginning of the wet season. The average cheetah has 1 to 3 cubs. 

Leopard Lifecycle:

Leopards live between 12 and 17 years while in captivity, they can live up to 21 years. Leopards mate all around the year and contain between 2 to 4 cubs. 

Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah and Jaguar

Big cats are the members of the Felidae family, and four of them are the only animals that can roar. Six big cat species found in the world are tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, cheetah, and cougars. One could easily get confused between leopard, jaguar, and cheetah. Here are the significant differences between cheetah, leopard, and jaguar. 

Jaguar: (Panthera Onca)

Jaguar is the third-largest feline in the world and also the giant cat in the Americas. Jaguars are usually larger than leopards and live in the scrub-lands, rain-forest, and open terrain. They are brown-yellow with dark black spots with a compact and well-muscled body. 

Leopard: (Panthera Pardus)

Leopard is one of the five big cats found in the world that has the best camouflaged and adaptation skills. They are similar in appearance to the jaguar but smaller in physique and an opportunistic hunter. Their body is yellowish with a larger spot in rosettes. 

Cheetah vs Leopard Fight: Who Would Win?

The leopard is much stockier and more durable than the cheetah. The cheetah has a light and slender body. The cheetah’s weapon is its speed; unless the leopard is always avoiding the leopard, it will be bitten by the strong jaws of the leopard. 

How big is a leopard? Read everything about them.