Cheetah vs Leopard: Top 10 Major Differences
Cheetah: Females are solitary (except when raising cubs). Males sometimes form coalitions of 2-3 individuals. The species is generally not dangerous to man; flees when encountered on foot.
May be aggressive when raised under captive conditions. Should always be handled with care!
Leopard: Both sexes are shy and isolated creatures. Relatively aggressive, especially when cornered or disturbed.
Tall and slender for the cheetah, more compact and muscular for the leopard. The cheetah is built for speed whereas the leopard needs more muscle power to drag its prey up into trees.
Cheetah: Semiretractable, which enables them to get a firmer grip on the ground (for speed).
Leopard: Retractable, like most cats. Ideal when climbing trees or catching prey.
Cheetah: Mainly savannah grasslands and plains. Often sit on termite mounds or small hills from which they scan the horizon for potential prey.
Good places to see them include Serengeti NP, Etosha or the Masai Mara Reserve, where animal stock is abundant.
Leopard: The most widespread wild feline. It can be found in most habitats, from dense woodlands to savannahs, mountains and desert regions.
Cheetah: Small and well-rounded, with distinctive “tear-stains” that run from the inner corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth.
Leopard: More elongated with dark spots on the muzzle.
Read about more major differences in Part Three.