LEOPARD

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LEOPARD (felisleopardus). This beautiful but savage animal is spread as widely over the countries of the old continent as the lion, and, throughout this extent, he varies but little, and that merely iii magnitude, in the size and form of his markings, and the intensity of their coloring; but he is every where the same as to form and structure, as well as in character and disposition. His ground color is a yellowish fawn, which becomes paler on the sides, and is lost in the pure white of the under part of the body. The back, head, neck, limbs, and under surface of the body, are marked with black spots, of different sizes, and placed in an irregular manner, whilst the sides are covered by numerous distinct roses, formed by the congregation of smaller spots, placed in a circular form. In general appearance, this animal is fierce, and is, in fact, equally savage and dastardly with the rest of the cat kind. His usual prey is antelopes, monkeys, and the smaller quadrupeds. He always avoids man, except wuen closely pursued, when he offers an obstinate resistance. Occasionally, however, the lone traveller has fallen a victim to these ferocious and sanguinary animals. When they attack a flock of sheep, the slaughter they commit is almost incredible. Kolbe states that two leopards, a male and female, and three young ones, entered a sheepfold at the cape of Good Hope; the old animals killed near 100 sheep; when they were satiated, they fed their young, and, each seizing a whole carcass, attempted to move off, but they were waylaid and killed. The Negroes take them in pitfalls, slightly covered over with hurdles, on which a piece of meat is placed as a bait. From the extraordinary flexibility of the limbs of this animal, he is enabled to ascend trees, in which he usually takes refuge when pursued. When taken young, he can be tamed to a certain degree. According to travellers in A frica, the flesh of the leopard is excellent, resembling veal. The skins are valuable^ selling, in Europe, at from $20 to $50. Huntingleopard (F. jubata\ or chectan, as it is termed in India, is about the size of a greyhound, with a narrow chest and long legs, of a thin make in the body and limbs, apparently calculated rather for speed than strength. In fact, this animal forms a sort of connecting link between the feline and canine groups. He is of a pale yellow color on the upper part, white underneath, and covered all over with very small irregular spots. He has a slight mane, extending along the back of the neck and upper part of the back. He is capable of being perfectly tamed, and is employed, in the East, for the chase of antelopes. He is carried to the field in a cart, in which he is kept chained and hoodwinked, till brought within view of a herd, when he is released, and the hoods removed. The animal steals gradually towards his prey, till he has attained a proper distance, when, with five or six surprising bounds, he springs upon it. If, however, he is unsuccessful in his attack, he does not attempt to renew it, but returns, with a mortified air, to his keeper.