Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd | Londolozi Blog

Involved Leopards

Nhlanguleni 3:2 Female

Nhlanguleni 3:2 Female

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Flat Rock 3:2 Male

Flat Rock 3:2 Male

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About the Author

Kyle Gordon

Contributor

Kyle was born and raised in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. His childhood was spent scurrying barefooted along the banks of various rivers and dams, fishing rod ever-in-hand, enjoying the beauty and freedom of outdoors. Kyle obtained a degree in construction from UCT ...

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34 Comments

on Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

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Francesca Doria
Digital Tracker

Very well-written Kyle, it made me smile! What a lucky event. Maybe the two females tolerate each other also because such a male leopard was worth the sharing

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Absolutely, he is an extremely strong male that has recently expanded his territory by a significant margin – prime genetic material!

Irene Henkes
Senior Digital Ranger

Interesting! It just might be that one will have gotten pregnant, the one who was first, if she was first for a couple of matings. It seems to me the male runs out of semen after a while…………….. at least, that is the story with other animals.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Hi Irene, the mating ritual can go on for several days and somewhere in the region of 250 separate mating events!! It is actually the constant mating that eventually causes the female to ovulate. And so conception normally happens nearer the end of the mating period. Additionally, the males’ sperm is very dilute so as to be able to last the entire mating period.

Paul Canales
Digital Tracker

Thrilling account of this mating ritual. I’d not heard of this “arrangement” previously and can only imaging what it must have been like to witness in real time. Incredible story and images!

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Neither had I Paul! But it really was fascinating to watch.

Gawie Jordaan
Senior Digital Ranger

Would a female not perhaps fake ‘oestrus’ to protect possible young?

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Absolutely Gawie and that is definitely a strategy that we have witness on several occasions. However, these females are fairly regularly seen and we would have noticed had they had suckle marks or some such clue as to cubs in the weeks precluding this day.

Gawie Jordaan
Senior Digital Ranger

Hopefully there will some with suckle marks around now. 😉

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Fascinating variation on the mating practices!

Christa Blessing
Digital Tracker

What a really exciting event. I would have loved watching these three leopards. Great pictures.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Thanks Christa, it was very special to see!

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

What an astonishing sighting, Kyle, I’m surprised it didn’t feature on a blog back then. As you say, given the time interval, it certainly looks like he’s the father of Nhlanguleni’s new cub(s).

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

I would definitely agree with you there, Suzanne!! It was the recent birth of those cubs that reminded me to write this blog.

Valmai Vorster
Senior Digital Ranger

Kyle that is fantastic that the Flat rock male was mating with both the female leopards and lying in between the two females while they were spitting and hissing at each other. He certainly is worth fighting for, such a majestic leopard. That means more leopard cubs and that is absolutely fantastic.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

It was an awesome sighting Valmai!! And couldn’t agree with you more – it will be very exciting going into winter watching any new cubs grow.

Mama Lioness
Senior Digital Ranger

Geez!! Who knew that female leopards could present themselves as being so “Amorous” amidst the bush! .. That even makes me blush! Can’t imagine what the male was thinking! (hahaha) – At least it was a pleasant site of nature and conservation.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

It was certainly a learning experience for me too, Mama!

Victoria Auchincloss
Digital Tracker

How great to come across this group and watch a slightly different dynamic! Victoria

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

It really was fascinating to witness, Victoria!

Darlene Knott
Master Tracker

Wow, what a sighting indeed! Fascinating interaction! Thanks for sharing, Kyle!

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

An absolute pleasure, Darlene!

Cally Staniland
Digital Tracker

Whatever the science is behind this particular event, the Flat Rock Male certainly got his oats and perhaps for you lucky folk, there will be a lot of cubs to view in the future.😊 It will be interesting to see if he dismisses either one at that stage and might think of killing either of the females cubs …I hope not !

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

And that’s it, Cally, sometimes we just don’t know what’s going on! But I do have my doubts that a male will dismiss any previous mating event all that easily. Or at least I’ll join you in hoping not!

Joan Schmiidt
Master Tracker

Kyle, I loved leopards🤗

Lisa Antell
Senior Digital Ranger

Flat Rock is a super stud. Love that cat! And Nhlanguleni and Xinzele too

Linda From California
Digital Ranger

I’ve seen this behavior once with a lion and two lionesses, but never with a leopard and two females. You got great great shots of their behaviors.

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Thanks so much, Linda!

Carly M
Explorer

Wow very interesting article! Every male’s dream to be in that scenario I bet!!! 😆 Two females begging for him and his attention! He must have thought all his dreams had come true at once! Lol. I can’t help wonder what they must be thinking of these crazy humans and their excitement to be taking pictures of their very private encounter. 😄

Kyle Gordon
Contributor

Thanks Carly, it really is such interesting behaviour! And, as with any other behaviour that involves the leopards around this area, I’d be very surprised if they took any notice of us at all. They seemed quite oblivious to our presence!

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Kyle, what an incredible sighting! It’s amazing to think that female competitors like that could could put themselves in that kind of a situation. It will now be interesting to see if there are future interactions between the two females, and whether they end up having cubs at about the same time!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Well, that’s one way to establish a dominant role – impregnate the available females and then protect his offspring. However, this behavior could backfire as he ages…. at any rate, thanks for your report on this threesome.

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Wow Kyle, what an experience. Great storytelling. Wish we were there!!!

excellent. enjoyed very much and can’t wait to hear an update on these 3 and cubs yay

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