This article addresses those individuals who want to known what do leopards eat. These wild cats have varied diet pattern. The smallest of the four big cats, leopards belong to the family of Felidae. Previously, these cats were in great numbers all throughout Asia, Africa, South Africa and Siberia; however, due to the habitat destruction and human extension, leopards were forced to leave their natural habitats. For the same reason, these animals are considered to be endangered.

What Do Leopards Eat | Leopards Diet

Because of their opportunistic nature, leopards tend to consume almost anything that comes in their way. They have a flexible diet pattern. These cats prey on medium-sized to the smaller ones. Leopards are very fond of eating dung beetles and giant elands with the weight measuring at 200 kg (440 lb).

Leopards predominantly prey on ungulates including monkeys and primates. Unlike other cats, leopards are skilled enough to climb on the trees while balancing itself with a long (almost half the body size) tail. These wild animals largely prey on reptiles, rodents, insects, birds, amphibians, and fish. Other prey includes foxes, jackals, and martens.

Though on rare occasion, leopards are also known to kill Nile crocodiles. These cats are capable to kill chimpanzees and gorillas although these kills are mostly avoided since they’re potentially stronger as compared to other targets. Leopards pursue their prey on a silent note by rushing towards it in a last minute. They are known as surprise hunters.

The leopards living in Africa have a wide variety of diet plan in that it ranges from Thomson’s gazelle to impala. Leopards do most of their hunting at dawn or at dusk. However, in Kruger National Park, these animals are found to be more energetic at night. At least 92 species have been documented in their diet. They largely prefer to take on medium-sized ungulates with the weight measuring at 20 to 80 kg (44 to 180 lb).

More than 60% of their prey is comprised of impala, the widely spread antelope weighing at 40 to 60 kg (88 to 130 lb). On an average, male leopards tend to consume 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) while females utilize 2.8 kg (6.2 lb).

Leopards prey on muntjacs, chitals, and deer in the Southern India. In order to minimize the probability of causing injury, these cats focus on impala, chital, common duiker, and bushbuck. These animals weigh around 10 – 40 kg (22 – 88 lb). When they feel that their food can be snatched away by predators, leopards take their kill and climb up the tree.

What Do Leopards Eat | Video


  1. I was lucky enough while out in the Masai Mara last year to witness a leopard hunt in the region of Intrepids Camp.

    We arrived as the female leopard (who I have been since told is called Bahati – meaning Fortune – and daughter of Olive, granddaughter of Bella from Big Cat Diary) had come down from a tree and then emerged from bushes by the track. As you can see from the video, she rolled in the dust and then appeared to spot gazelle nearby. Instantly her posture changed, she slunk down onto her haunches and crept into the long grass. It was amazing to see how low she could stay, and the stealth with which she moved. As she approached the oblivious gazelle, we watched on from the jeep, and despite standing and looking down at the scene, eventually we lost sight of her too in the grass. Such incredible camouflage when seen in their natural environment!

    We waited patiently, holding our breaths, and with my camera trained on the gazelle. Minutes passed but we were all intently waiting and watching. Suddenly, as you see in the video, she exploded out of the grass and around the closest gazelle, who didn’t stand a chance, gripping it by the windpipe. Such speed and power was phenomenal to watch – you can see how I jumped on the video!

    After it’s prey was subdued, Bahati paused to give us a few more photo opportunities and then dragged the gazelle off back to through the bushes. It made me realise how small a leopard is compared to some of the larger cats, as it seemed quite unwieldy for it. We watched it toy with its food in the bushes for a few minutes, and then it disappeared into thick bush (presumably back up a tree again – though sadly I didn’t get to witness that).

    The whole event lasted about 15 or 20 minutes I should think, and I barely breathed through all of it. It felt a real privilege to be there to witness such a moment..

    Hopefully you can enjoy the video and get a taste of the moment for yourself.


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