The leopard (Panthera pardus
is the current scientific name; it's been reclassified since the one given in the Webster 1913 entry) is the most widespread cat of the Old World
-- it's found through large portions of Asia
, in habitat
s from desert
to riverside reed beds. (And, as Ernest Hemingway
reminds us, one was even found dead at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Leopards are solitary and nocturnal. They like climbing trees, and dragging killed animals into them to keep scavengers away (a three-hundred pound giraffe carcass has been found high up in an acacia tree courtesy of a leopard). Most leopards are spotted for camouflage, but the black panther is just a dark-furred leopard, which can be born in the same litter as those with normal spots.
Leopards are endangered because their fur is valuable and because they need wild land with cover to live on.