Difference Between Leopard and Cheetah

Mammals are species of animals that group more than 5 thousand different species, which have evolved and adapted to different climatic conditions for their survival. Among the main characteristics of mammals, several can be mentioned: they are warm-blooded, the mothers have mammary glands, they have lips around their jaws, which makes it easier for the young to suckle from their mothers, most are covered with hair, its respiration is pulmonary and most of this species are viviparous.

Thus, within the mammals, felines are classified, large predators that have powerful jaws and are expected to have strength, speed and highly developed senses. They are characterized by having a small and short snout, they have large fangs and retractable nails, they are hunters by nature, stalking the victim until the moment of a fast run that allows them to reach their prey to feed satisfactorily. In this sense, there are 38 species of cats, which are divided into three genera: Panthera (lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar), Acinonyx (cheetahs) and Felis, Leopardus, Lynx (small cats).

That said, in this article we will differentiate between the leopard and the cheetah, which belong to this family of mammals, but which have different qualities and characteristics.

The leopard

It can be said that the Leopard is an animal that belongs to the feline family and has yellow fur with black spots that distinguish it from other cats that belong to the same genus. It is considered an elegant animal of great beauty, where its ability to adapt has allowed it to spread in several territories, although its attractiveness has made it a hunting object, which is believed could lead to extinction.

Among other things, it has four legs that end up being its main hunting weapon, it has retractable claws to grab its prey and prevent it from escaping, and in turn allows it to climb trees from where it can easily stalk its prey. The front feet have 5 toes while the back feet have four toes. Its hunting habit is nocturnal and it feeds on the meat of other animals that are not as large as monkeys, foxes and jackals. Finally, the Leopards reproduce at any time of the year and, generally, they come together only for mating, since their life is mostly solitary.


The Cheetah is a feline that lives in certain specific areas, since it does not adapt easily to any environment, being specifically Africa and Asia the places where they can be found. Their spots are from birth and unique to each Cheetah, unlike other felines that develop them with age. It is considered the fastest land animal in the world and also, unlike other cats, the cheetah cannot climb even when it has retractable claws. Additionally, even though it can purr like other cats, the Cheetah is not capable of roaring. Finally, the cheetah is a hunter by nature and can do so at any time of the day.

Once we have defined these two types of felines, we will mention some differences below:

  • The Leopard can climb trees with the help of its retractable legs and claws, while the Cheetah is the only feline that does not climb.
  • The Leopard belongs to the Panthera genus while the Cheetahs are the only ones that belong to the Acinonyx genus.
  • The Leopard adapts to any habitat, which has allowed it to spread over various territories, while the Cheetah does not have this ability to adapt and is only found in Africa and Asia.
  • Cheetahs are born spotted while Leopards develop their spots during growth.
  • The Leopard can roar while the Cheetah only purrs.
  • Leopards hunt only at night while Cheetahs hunt at any time of day.

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