Leopards are the best species in the cat family. They are carnivores and are one of the five extant species of the genus Panthera. There are nine official subspecies of leopards and several subspecies as well. Leopards mostly inhabit areas of Central and Western Asia, Russia and Africa. This big cat looks unique starting with the fur and the leopard skin colour is mostly yellow the same goes for the black leopards which have yellow spots. But have you ever wondered about why is leopard skin spotted or what is the base color of a leopard. Read further to know them all!
1. How do you Define a Leopard Skin Colour?
The leopard skin colour is cream yellow on the abdomen, and it is dark to orange-brown at the back. Leopards have solid black spots on their limbs and head. The centre of these dots, which are golden or amber in colour, form circular rosette patterns. The leopard’s tail features uneven patches of dark-ringed bands towards the tip of the tail. (See Adorable Golden Possum that Looks like Pikachu)
2. Does Melanin effects Leopard Skin Colour? Photo by Udara Karunarathna on Unsplash
Now that you are aware of the leopard skin colour, let us learn whether melanin affects their skin colour. Yes, melanin effects can be seen in big cats. Leopards show a lot of distinct patterns and colours and they sometimes display melanism which is a variation that happens genetically wherein they overcome the dark colour pigment on their skin or fur. Some of the leopards continue to retain the dark pigment because of which these leopards are black in colour.
3. How is Leopard Skin Spotted?
Light-coloured leopards have varied dark spots. These spots are known as rosettes, they are in the shape of a rose. Black leopards are solid in colour, they additionally have spots just like light ones but they are hard to find. (See Pomeranian Fox Face: Fox cut on a Pomeranian)
4. Why is Leopard Skin Spotted?Photo by Mélody P on Unsplash
These marks help to break the shape of the objects which helps hunters and soldiers wear camouflage, and they also have it on their vehicles.
The leopard has spots that help them blend in the forest and move stealthily. They could catch more prey and survive longer, so they may pass on those spots to their children. (See What colour is camouflage?)
5. Are Leopards Orange and Yellow?
6. Why are Leopard Skin Colour Rosettes?
Most leopards are easy to identify thanks to their distinctive dark patches and colours. Because they resemble the shape of a rose, those patches are known as rosettes and this helps in camouflaging these animals for defence or for an offence. (See What is an African Lion’s Weight in kg?)
7. What are the Diet and Behaviour of Leopards?Photo by Grace Nandy on Unsplash
The big cat family of leopards is carnivores. Their food habits are just like other big cats and they feed on large prey such as monkeys and also on small prey such as birds, mammals and reptiles. Leopards hunt at night, and they are adept at climbing up trees to transport their prey, which they then eat, store, or catch for later use. They eat from trees because they don’t want to be startled by jackals and hyenas or other scavengers.
Leopards are powerful big cats which are related to lions, tigers and Jaguars. They are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, Northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China. These populations are endangered, especially outside of Africa. The base color of a leopard is a cream-yellow tint on the tummy and gradually darkens to an orange-brown colour on the back. The leopard’s head and limbs are covered in a dappling of solid black spots. There are other black leopards too which have melanin which makes them look black. (Also read Why are Cheetahs friendly to Humans?)