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4 Types of Leopard Species Found in India

Leopard Species Found in India

Leopard is one of the majestic big cats found in tropical rainforests, temperate deciduous forests, or alpine coniferous forests, the leopard can be found there. Other than deserts and the mangroves of Sundarbans, you can find them in dry scrubs and grasslands. In 17 states, it lives side by side with the tiger.  There are a total of 9 subspecies of leopards found in the world.


  1. African Leopard (Panthera pardus pardus)
  2. North China Leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis)
  3. Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor)
  4. Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya)
  5. Indian Leopard (Panthera pardus fusca)
  6. Javan Leopard (Panthera pardus melas)
  7. Arabian Leopard (Panthera pardus nimr)
  8. Indochinese Leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri)
  9. Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)


In this blog post, we covered the 4 leopard species found in India.


1. Common Indian Leopard:

Like other leopard species found in India, the Indian leopard, also called the common leopard, is a solitary predator that stays well-hidden at night but hunts during the day by coming down from trees. Where they live with other predators like Bengal Tigers, Striped Hyenas, and Dhole, they are more likely to drag their kills up trees. They are opportunistic hunters with big heads and strong jaw muscles that allow them to kill medium-sized herbivores. The Indian Leopard mostly eats Chital, Sambar, and langur species. However, they have also been known to eat Spotted Deer, Nilai, Wild pigs, cattle, hares, dogs, and porcupines.

Due to the efforts of government officials and environmentalists, the population of the Indian leopard subspecies has increased in its native Indian subcontinent habitat. According to a 2014 census, the estimated overall leopard population in India is between 12,000 and 14,000.

Also Read: Difference between Jaguar & Leopard, Comparing the cat family – tiger, lion, leopards



indian leopard in Pench


Key Characteristics of Indian Leopards:

Indian leopard males are usually between 4ft 2in (127 cm) and 4ft 8in (142 cm) tall and weigh between 50kg and 77kg. Females are shorter and lighter than males. They are between 3ft 5in (104 cm) and 3ft 10in (117 cm) tall and weigh between 29kg and 34kg.


Where to find Indian leopards:

Indian leopards can be seen in many places in India like Bera, Jhalana Leopard Safari Park in Rajasthan, Pench, Satpura & Panna in Madhya Pradesh.


Indian Leopard Safari Tours in India:

  1. Tiger & Leopard Safari in India
  2. Big Cats of India Safari Tour of India



2. Snow Leopard:

Snow leopards are leopard species found in India with huge, fluffy, and spotted coats and tails, but they are also formidable predators who can track and kill a variety of prey species in treacherous alpine terrain.

They are commonly referred to as “ghosts of the hills” due to their tendency to remain in the shadows.

The snow leopard is an alpine cat that inhabits the high, snowy mountains of central and southern Asia. They populate the highlands of 12 different nations, at altitudes of 3,000 to 5,000 metres. Snow leopards require a harsh, hostile, freezing, and desolate environment.

Read about Project Snow Leopard in India.


snow leopard in India


Key Characteristics of Snow Leopards:

The total length of a snow leopard is only about 75–150 centimetres (cm), with the tail adding another 80–105 cm. This makes them the smallest of the big cats(Bengal tigers, lions, Indian leopards). The average weight of a snow leopard is between 25 and 55 kilogrammes (55 to 75 pounds), however larger males have been documented.


Where to find Snow leopards in India:

Snow leopards can be found in the Hemis National Park and Ulley Valley, Leh, Indian Himalayas.


Snow Leopard Expedition Tours in India:

  1. Snow Leopard Expedition Tour of India
  2. Snow Leopard & Leh Tour of India



3. Clouded Leopard:

The Clouded Leopard, sometimes known as the Mainland Clouded Leopard, is a large wild cat found in the forested regions of mainland Southeast Asia, South China, and the Himalayan foothills. In 1821, a clouded leopard was carried all the way to London from China. It’s covered in big, cloudy-looking patches of grey and white.

The Clouded Leopard, or Neofelis Nebulosa, is a rare wild cat that lives in the northeastern Indian Himalayan foothills. India is home to five of the world’s big cats, one of which, the Indian clouded leopard, is the most secretive feline in existence. The only known wild populations of Clouded Leopards are in the protected areas of north-eastern India. This puts the total population at less than 10,000.


clouded leopard & cub in India


Key Characteristics of Clouded Leopards:

Its head and body measure between 68.6 and 108 cm (27.0 and 42.5 in), and its tail extends a further 61 to 91 cm (24 to 36 in). It can balance on its tail and descend tree trunks headfirst because of its dexterity in the treetop environment. During the day, it sleeps in the trees and goes hunting on the forest floor at night.


Where to find Clouded leopards in India:

Clouded leopards can be found at Clouded Leopard National Park in Tripura, Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, Buxa National Park in West Bengal, Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Assam, Phawngpui National Park in Mizoram, Manas National Park in Assam, Balphakram National Park in Meghalaya.



4. Black Leopard:

One of the most adored leopard species found in India is the Black Leopard. Sometimes visible in favourable light conditions, a black panther has dark brown (or black) fur with black rosettes. Therefore, these melanistic leopards or panthers are not a distinct species but rather melanism. To put it simply, this is a Panthera of a melanistic variety. They are called black leopards in Africa and Asia and black panthers in the Americas. The leopard subspecies are easy to spot in India, as it is present in numerous protected areas; yet, sightings are extremely rare.



Black leopard in India


Key Characteristics of Clouded Leopards:

It’s important to note that melanistic leopards and non-melanistic leopards are phenotypically identical with the exception of their coat colour. They are identical to the typical Indian leopard in terms of size and weight, and their hunting behaviours are identical as well.


Where to find Indian leopards:

Kabini Nagarhole National Park (Approx. 240 km from Bangalore), Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve (Approx. 410 km from Bangalore), Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (Approx. 275 km from Bangalore) and Sharavathi Wildlife Sanctuary (Approx. 420 km from Bangalore).


Black Leopard Safari Tours in India:

  1. Black Leopard Safari Tour in India
  2. Black Leopard Safari in Pench National Park



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