Way of Life Literature
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It is a medium-sized spotted wild cat that lives in Africa, the Sinai, the Judean wilderness, the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, South Asia, Russia and China.
It is beautifully colored with dark spots on a tawny coat, but its coloring changes somewhat according to its habitat. This provides excellent camouflage, and it can become invisible in very sparse cover.
The leopard can survive from the moisture it gets from its kills.
Typically it hunts at night and rests in trees or caves during the day.
The leopard loves the water, is a good swimmer, and can catch fish and crabs.
Also called a panther, it is less bold than a lion or tiger, but it is one of the most dangerous animals. “Pound for pound, it is the strongest of the big cats.” Its sense of smell is extremely keen, its night vision excellent, and it is an intelligent, quiet hunter. The leopard lurks and stalks, as described by Hosea. “Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them” (Ho. 13:7). “Leopards rely heavily on being able to get close enough to their prey before ambushing it” (A-Z-Animals.com).
When it attacks, it is extremely fast, able to run 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph). Its long, heavy tail provides keen balance as it makes sharp turns. It can leap 3 meters high (9.8 ft) and more than 6 meters (20 ft) horizontally.
Its jaws are the most powerful of the big cat family (2000 psi). “During predatory attacks, leopards typically bite their prey’s throat or the nape of the neck, lacerating or severing jugular veins and carotid arteries, causing rapid exsanguination. The spine may be crushed and the skull perforated, exposing the brain. Survivors of attacks typically suffer extensive trauma to the head, neck, and face. ... Before the advent of antibiotics, 75% of attack survivors died from infection” (“Leopard Attack,” Wikipedia).
On one occasion, a leopard ripped and tore into three hunters in a matter of seconds before someone could kill it.
It is able to drag a carcass larger than itself up a tree.
“Like the tiger, the panther [leopard] sometimes takes to man-eating, and a man-eating panther is even more to be dreaded than a tiger with similar tastes, on account of its greater agility, and also its greater stealthiness and silence. It can stalk and jump, and ... can climb better than a tiger, and it can also conceal itself in astonishingly meager cover, often displaying uncanny intelligence in this act. A man-eating panther frequently breaks through the frail walls of village huts and carries away children and even adults as they lie asleep” (J.C. Daniel, The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society).
Leopards were credited with more than 13,300 deaths in the Indian subcontinent between 1875-2007.
Two infamous man-eating leopards in India killed 525 people, as described in Jim Corbett’s book Man-Eaters of Kumaon.
The leopard is one of the “Big 5” game animals in Africa. The other four are the elephant, the black rhinoceros, the cape buffalo, and the lion. On a photo safari at Kruger Park in South Africa in 2015, we sighted the Big 5 every day of the three-day journey.
In Christ’s kingdom, the leopard will lie down with the lamb (Isa. 11:6).
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