12 Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah with Similarities

What is the difference between leopard and cheetah?

Leopards and cheetahs are both from big cats family. However, they are two different cats found across Africa. They have both physical and behavioral characteristics that differ.

The main difference between leopard and cheetah is the color of the coat. Cheetahs have spotted while leopards have rosettes. The pattern of rosettes on cheetahs is more complex.

Comparison Table (Leopard vs Cheetah)

Characteristics Leopard Cheetah
Fur coat They have rosettes. The color is yellow. They have spots. The color of the coat is tan.
Face They do not have a tear line. They have black tear marks that run from the inner corner of their eyes down the sides of their nose and mouth.
Head Has a more elongated head with dark blackish spots on the muzzle. They have a small and well-rounded head shape.
Eyes They have green-blue colored eyes. They have more of an amber-colored eye.
Size and body shape They are stronger and bulkier. They are taller and slender.
Feet and claws They have bigger front feet and retractable claws. They have big back feet and non-retractable claws.
Tail Their tails are more round in shape. Their tails are flatter in shape.
Hunting They prefer to ambush their prey. They use their speed to chase their prey.
Speed They are relatively slow. They are faster.
Habitat They live in a wide range of habitats from desert, semi-deserts, savannah, grasslands. They prefer to live in grasslands, savannahs, and dense vegetation.
Behavior They are nocturnal They are diurnal.
Lifespan They can live between 12 to 17 years in the wilderness. They can live between 8 to 10 years in the wilderness.
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What is a Leopard?

Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah

Leopard is one of the species in the genus Panthera and family Felidae. It has short legs and a long body with a large skull. Its coat is yellow in color with rosettes. It has well-camouflaged fur that is really necessary for its hunting.

It inhabits various habitats ranging from deserts, semi-deserts, savannahs, and grasslands. They are nocturnal.  They move at night as they hunt for their food. They are carnivores. They hunt on antelopes, gazelles, impalas, baboons, and many other small animals.

They give birth to a litter of two to three cubs in the den. At birth, the cubs are blind and almost hairless. They mate all around the year. They do not have a specific season for mating. Female leopards are solitary animals but they take care of newborns teaching them how to hunt before leaving them on their own.

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What is a Cheetah?


Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah

Cheetah is a large cat native to Africa and central Iran. It is the fastest land animal. They have long, thin legs which enable them to run very fast. Their color of the coat is tan and has black spots. They have small and round heads.

They mainly live in grasslands and bushy areas. They run after their prey until they catch them. They are carnivores. They feed on animals. They hunt on animals such as hares, impalas, wild beasts calves, and gazelles.

They mate during the dry season. The gestation period is between 90 to 95 days. They give birth between 4 to 6 cubs. The cubs have a lower survival rate as they are more susceptible to wildlife predators as their mothers may live them for a certain period. Female cheetahs are solitary while raising their cubs.

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Main Differences between a Leopard and a Cheetah

  1. A leopard has a yellow coat with rosettes while a cheetah has a tan coat with spots.
  2. Leopard has a more elongated head with dark blackish spots on the muzzle while cheetah has a small rounded head shape.
  3. Leopard is stronger and bulkier while cheetah is slender and taller.
  4. Leopard has bigger front feet and retractable claws while cheetah has big back feet and non-retractable claws.
  5. Leopard has a tail that is more round in shape while cheetah has a tail that is flatter.
  6. Leopards are relatively slow while cheetahs are faster.
  7. Leopards prefer to ambush their prey while cheetahs use their speed to chase their prey.
  8. Leopards are nocturnal while cheetahs are diurnal.
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Similarities between a Leopard and a Cheetah

  1. They are both carnivores.
  2. Both can live in the same habitats.
  3. Both have coats that have different patterns.
  4. They both belong to the family Felidae.

In Conclusion

Leopards and cheetahs belong to the same family. However, the two animals are different from each other. Leopards have yellow coats with rosettes while cheetahs have a tan coat with black spots. Leopards have stronger and bulkier bodies while cheetahs have taller and slender bodies. The main feature that makes leopards different from cheetahs is the color of the coat.

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