The mysterious leopard is a secretive and stealthy big cat. Its coat, valued in the past as ceremonial robes and a coveted fashion item, is covered with black spots and rosettes and the tail is longer than its body length. Solitary prowlers, they are nocturnal and often hunt long after the sun has gone down. They further add to their allusive air by residing in riverine forests, dense bush or mountainous areas. In the Cape they have been largely driven out by farmers, thus opting to hide out in the mountains.
Extremely territorial, they live alone; urine and claw marks on trees serve as markers of their territory, keeping other leopards away. They will only come together to mate and the females will then stay with the cubs for up to two years. They love trees and as powerful climbers can drag prey twice their own body weight up a tree. This keeps their catch away from scavengers and other predators and allows them to store it for when they wish to feed again. Their diet is quite versatile ranging from rodents and birds to dassies, monkeys and large antelope.
Their solitary and oft fierce nature keeps their predators to a minimum, with the biggest threat being humans. A glimpse of a leopard is rare due to its nighttime activities and their preference of the shade and solitude of trees and caves during the day.