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Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?
~ Jeremiah 13:23

The leopard is the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera. Compared to other members of the Felidae, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. Of all the big cats the leopards are reported to be "the most numerous and wide spread of the big cats". Its natural design is perfect and is known for its sleekness, smartness and power. It is a predator with tremendous physical power and has immense capability to kill animals which are bigger than itself.


"What are your legs?"
"Springs. Steel springs."
"What are they going to do?"
"Hurl me down the track."
"How fast can you run?"
"As fast as a leopard."
"How fast are you gonna run?"
"As fast as a leopard!"
"Then let's see you do it!"
~ Gallipoli (Dialogue)
  • It seems almost impossible for cats to make an ugly or undignified movement, and I would say the leopard in motion is the most beautiful sight of all.
    • James Alldiss, Animals As Friends (1973), p. 31
  • A leopard does not change his spots, or change his feeling that spots are rather a credit.
  • It is perfection in natural design – sleek, smart, and powerful. Capable of amazing physical prowess, the leopard is a formidable predator; able to bring down prey significantly larger than itself.
  • Leopards are cunning beasts and will lie quietly until you are almost on top of them. Then they will suddenly charge with the deadliest speed and determination.
  • The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
  • Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?
  • Noi fummo i Gattopardi, i Leoni; quelli che ci sostituiranno saranno gli sciacalletti, le iene; e tutti quanti Gattopardi, sciacalli e pecore, continueremo a crederci il sale della terra.
    • We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who'll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we'll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.
    • Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Il Gattopardo (1958), translated by Archibald Colquhoun as The Leopard (1960)
  • There is a hair-trigger ferocity about the leopards. Each time one lifted one’s binoculars for a closer view one was confronted with two green glaring lamps that burned directly into one’s own eyes. The pupils had the effect of boring into you. No animal, not even the lion, has such an implacable gaze.
  • Put a leopard and a V. antirrhopus together and the former would be in trouble.
    • Gregory S. Paul, Predatory Dinosaurs of the World (Simon and Schuster, 1988), pp. 362-3
  • A leopard doesn't change his spots just because you bring him in from the jungle and try to housebreak him and turn him into a pet. He may learn to sheathe his claws in order to beg a few scraps off the dinner table, and you may teach him to be a beast of burden, but it doesn't pay to forget that he'll al ways be what he was born: a wild animal.
  • I am lithe, and light, and supple, like the leopard of the plain.
    • Francis Saltus Saltus, "Song of the Youth" in Lot's Wife, Part I; The Witch of En-dor, and Other Poems (1891)
  • Leopards on the gable-ends,
    Leopards on the painted stair,
    Stiff the blazoned shield they bear,
    Or and gules, a bend of vair,
    Leopards on the gable-ends,
    Leopards everywhere.
  • King Richard II: ...[L]ions make leopards tame.
    Thomas Mowbray: Yea, but not change his spots:
  • The lively-shining leopard, speckled o'er
    With many a spot, the beauty of the waste.
  • Jack: "What are your legs?"
    Archy: "Springs. Steel springs."
    Jack: "What are they going to do?"
    Archy: "Hurl me down the track."
    Jack: "How fast can you run?"
    Archy: "As fast as a leopard."
    Jack: "How fast are you gonna run?"
    Archy: "As fast as a leopard!"
    Jack: "Then let's see you do it!"
  • If strolling forth, a beast you view,
      Whose hide with spots is peppered,
    As soon as she has leapt on you,
      You'll know it is the leopard.
    • Carolyn Wells, "How To Tell the Wild Animals", Baubles (1917), p. 105
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