Leopard vs Cheetah

Updated: Sep 3

Can you tell the difference?

The most obvious markings on Cheetah is the two tear lines that run from the inside corners of their eyes down to the outside edges of their mouth. These marks help reflect the sun's glare whenever the cats are off hunting during the brightest of days – in that way, cheetahs don't get blinded by direct sunshine like we do, even in midday. Leopards don't have the tear marks because they are mostly nocturnal cats and the cheetahs are more daytime cats.    The cheetah avoids conflict for those bodybuilder cats. These are specialized adaptions providing cheetahs with a very special niche advantage in which they thrive while the leopards sleep during the day.  

The cheetah has non-retractable claws, meaning they are extended all the time (it is, in fact, the only cat that has non-retractable claws). Leopards have retractable claws that's why known as "Kings of the Trees".

Claws can extend when climbing trees or catching prey. Leopards are built like bodybuilders, they have the strength to hoist a carcass of up to 50kg into a tree.

Cheetahs are built like track runners so they are speed models, their bodies are very slender, with long legs. When they catch their prey cheetah selects the most nutritional part to eat first which is usually the rump.

Cheetah stays away from the other big cats because they are not built to battle the bodybuilder's mussel. Cheetahs use trees only when they fell over sideways or push over by elephants feeding.  Trees help the cheetah with a vantage point for a lookout prey and danger. Cheetah walks with caution and intention in every graceful stride that they take and you can mostly found then termite mounds resting.

Want to see lions, cheetahs, and leopards in the wild?

Professional guide Ann de Jaguar can give you good advice on how to plan your Kruger national park safari from tailor-made or set holiday packages. 

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