Difference Between Leopard vs Cheetah

Difference Between Leopard vs Cheetah

We have always heard that things are not always what they seem, which has been proven to be true in a lot of cases. This theory applies to virtually everything including animals, especially their physical features. Two different animals may appear to be similar in the way they look, sound, and so on, but after closer examination, scientists have disclosed that that is not always the case.

We will be discussing one such case in this post today—the difference between cheetah and leopard. Yes, they are both cats, but you would be surprised at how unalike they are compared to one another.

Definition of Leopard

A leopard is defined as a big wild cat characterized by its spotted fur, camouflage, and adaptation skills. It is also known as Panthera pardus, which means that it is a taxonomic species within the Felidae family. Their class is Mammalia, and their phylum is Chordata.

Let us talk about the spots on their fur. From afar, they may be perceived as dark, but on a more specific note, they are actually yellow with dark rosettes. This beautiful pattern is distributed all over the body, even on the tail and the face. These gorgeous cats are not as large as the rest of the other animals in the Felidae family. The largest of them is about 6 feet with the tail excluded.

As is expected, the male weighs more than the females. The former weighs about 65 to 190 pounds, while the latter is 45 to 135 pounds. These mammals can survive in just about any habitat—forest, desert, grassland, etc.

When it comes to diet, the Panthera pardus is a voracious carnivore. Voracious because they feed on just about anything they come across. They are careful nocturnal hunters that ambush their prey and go for a swift and breaking bite on the neck.

The cheetah vs leopard comparison is not entirely about disparities, obviously. They have a variety of things in common. They belong to the same phylum, family, class, kingdom, and order.

Definition of Cheetah

A cheetah is defined as a big wild cat that belongs to the Chordata phylum and is characterized by its spotted fur and unparalleled speed. As a matter of fact, it is on record as the fastest terrestrial animal there is. It is also known as Acinonyx jubatus and is, unfortunately, the only living species of the Acinonyx genus.

There are a lot of physical features that set this feline apart from the rest, one of which is its spots. They are black in color and evenly distributed all over the body, except for the underbelly, which is whitish in color. Observing the leopard vs cheetah comparison, one can see why a lot of people would confuse one for the other, but knowing their distinct features goes a long way to help tell them apart.

Another distinct feature is the dark tear mark on their faces starting from the corner of their eyes down to the sides of their faces stopping at their mouths. Unlike other felines, this species is not very common.

Their habitat is limited to places within Africa and Asia, and they are mostly found in large expanses of land. They prey only on mammals, unlike some other cats that prey on just about everything.

Main Differences Between Leopard vs Cheetah

The table below is a brief summary of the differences between these two.

Basis of ComparisonLeopardCheetah
DefinitionA big wild cat characterized by its spotted fur, camouflage, and adaptation skillsA big wild cat that belongs to the Chordata phylum and is characterized by its spotted fur and unparalleled speed
Weight45 to 190 pounds51 to 68 pounds
Litter sizeTwo to fourThree to five
Hunting timeNocturnalDiurnal
Speed36 mph75 mph
Striking strength244812000

Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah: Conclusion

Some of the deductions we can finally make from this comparison between leopard and cheetah are that the latter is very fast, lanky, and diurnal. The former, on the other hand, is big, strong, and lives a solitary life. In conclusion, the difference between leopard and cheetah is expressed in their physical appearance, speed, and weight.