Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Bruce Arnott

Field Guide

Bruce grew up on a plot of farmland in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. He always had a passion for the bush and the outdoors, having been camping and fishing since he was a young boy. He attended school in the Natal midlands after ...

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22 Comments

on Leopard Physiology: Why do They Climb so Well?

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Interesting information Bruce. Most of the leopards (about 80%) that we have seen has been on the ground. We have seen quite a few up in a tree with a kill, or just lazing in the branches, or on a branch that fell over. Saw a few lying on rocks. Some running or walking down the road and one, a big male, killing a warthog and not hoisting it. Leopards are incredible animals.

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Marinda! Thank you for sharing some of your experiences with leopards. I agree, they are incredible!

Darlene Knott
Senior Digital Ranger

We love watching leopards climb trees, especially if they are hoisting a kill up the tree. Unbelievable strength! Loved the photos!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Darlene I agree, they are a wonder to watch in action! Thank you for the feedback on the photos!

Denise Vouri
Master Tracker

My first leopard sighting was in Samburu, where an adult was lazing on a twisted branch on a tree across the river from us. Not a close up opportunity but thrilling nonetheless. Since then there have been several sightings, split about 50/50 between earth and trees. My favorite has been spending time with young Monzo who had been chased up an old Leadwood tree by wild dogs.
I’m “training “ my eyes for my upcoming trip to your world in mid-November for many animal sightings, hopefully including leopards!! Thanks for the interesting article.

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Denise, thank you for sharing with us! Good luck and have fun in November, I hope you get to see a leopard!

So interesting and informative. As an avid reader of the Londolozi blog we look forward to sharing sightings for real in December. Love the resting Tatowa Male photo ! Thank you.

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Jennifer thank you for your feedback and for keeping up with the Londolozi blog, we are all glad that you enjoy reading the stories! I am sure you will have a blast in December!

Victoria Auchincloss
Digital Ranger

We have had the good fortune to see a leopard climb a tree. Once so he could look out for food. We also saw a young leopard get her kill up out of reach of hyenas. It is amazing to see. I love it when the lie across the branch with their feet hanging down on either side. What balance and how beautiful they are. Victoria

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Victoria, thank you for sharing your stories and I think we would all agree with you about the amazing balance and beauty of a leopard!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

Really informative article, Bruce! Yes, I’ve seen leopards in trees, both with and without kills, alone and with a cub. Probably the most amazing sighting was of the Piva male in a tree with a kill he’d stolen from Nkoveni – then Mashaba leapt up the tree, wanting first to feed (he wouldn’t let her) then to mate with him (he wasn’t interested)! Seeing two adult leopards in a single tree was insane!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Wow, that must have been an incredible sighting Mary Beth! There aren’t many who can say they have seen that. Thank you for sharing!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Fascinating article, thank you for this!! I didn’t know about the mobility of the leopards backbone or that its leg bones weren’t connected to the shoulder!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Callum you are welcome. Glad you learnt something new!

Chelsea Allard
Explorer

We saw the Tamboti female in a tree feeding, but didn’t get to see her hoist it. Her cub climbed up to feed once she was satisfied. I would love to see one hoist a kill – how incredible! Do they typically empty the carcass of the heavier organs to ease their climb before stashing kills? I suspect they try to eat as much as they can right away to decrease the chance of losing it.

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Chelsea, thank you for the comment and I do hope you get to see a leopard hoist a kill one day! Yes, leopards do pull out the intestines to ‘lighten the load’ before carrying it up a tree and also because they do not feed on the intestines so will pull them out to bury them, hiding the smell!

Alessandra Cuccato
Digital Ranger

Gorgeous sequence of pictures. I saw the Ingrid Dam hoist a kill with the Ingrid Dam Young Female looking up and investigating from the ground. One of my favourite drives ever.

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Alessandra that sounds incredible, I’m glad you got the chance to see that! Thank you for sharing with us and I’m happy that you like the images!

Michael & Terri Klauber
Digital Tracker

Bruce, Thanks for the awesome climbing shots! You are so right about their climbing ability, especially with a kill! Their strength and agility is truly amazing. We also liked what you did with the B&W shot. Thanks for the insights!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Thank you very much for the comment Michael and Terri! I am glad you enjoyed the black and white too! Leopards are truly incredible.

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Digital Tracker

Although I knew leopards were very powerful, I was unaware of their various physical attributes. Especially regarding the mobility of the spine (incredible) and that the front limbs are only attached by tissues to the collarbone. Fascinating for a medical person! Your excellent images go hand and glove with your written description as well. I think everyone must have learned a bit of something new from you. Well done, Bruce!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Joanne, thank you for those words of appreciation! I am so glad you learnt something new!

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