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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Trees And Leopards

Most people , when they think of leopards, also think of trees - The stereotypical picture postcard of a leopard relaxing in the branches of a tree is the image that comes to mind first.
Many people are therefore surprised that when they come to stay at the lodge they see plenty of leopards, but seldom do they see them posing in a tree…
Leopards are known to take their kills up into trees to keep their meal out of reach of other predators, but there needs to be other predators around to make them do this, most leopards prefer to take their prey into the shade and feed on the ground, only hoisting the carcass if threatened by lions, hyenas and wild dogs. Even after the kill is safely stashed up a tree, the leopard will spend a lot of the time on the ground in the surrounding area.
Leopards often rest in the branches of a tree when it is hot, but more often they will choose a shady thicket to lie in.
Leopards will sometimes climb trees to look for prey to hunt, but they will also use termite mounds and rocks for the same purpose.
The individual personality of a leopard will determine how often they climb trees, some individuals are hardly ever seen up in the branches, whilst others seem to use every opportunity they can to get up there.
In our traversing area there is one leopard that we can rely on for the classic leopard/tree picture and that is the Tlangisa female, she seems to be one of those leopards that prefers tree climbing – as these videos show!