What Eats Leopards (Top 5 Leopard Predators)
With keen hunting skills, immense strength, and deadly instincts, leopards are the gladiators of the animal kingdom.
So, what kind of creature has the courage (and teeth) to take on such a formidable predator? The answer may surprise you.
But before we dive into the “what eats leopards” question, let me warn you: this won’t be your average nature blog post. This will be a wild ride!
What Eats Leopards?
Lions, tigers, hyenas, and pythons have all been known to attack and kill leopards, in addition to humans, which are the leopard’s main predators. Leopard cubs are especially susceptible to attack from these animals.
The African savannah is a fierce battleground where predators reign supreme and prey must constantly evade danger.
Lions are ruthless predators, sitting confidently at the top of their food chain. As a result, everything beneath them is fair game if there is ever a confrontation.
With their imposing size and muscular build, lions can easily overpower most other animals in a fight. Even the sleek and stealthy leopard, weighing in at a meager 140 pounds, is no match for a lion weighing 400+ pounds.
And when it comes to hunting, lions have a significant advantage over their solitary counterparts. Working together in groups, lions can take down even the most formidable prey with ease.
Yet, despite their ability to hunt and kill them, lions don’t eat leopards unless facing starvation. They prefer to target fatty, omnivorous herds for a more substantial supply of nutrients.
However, leopard cubs are at risk of falling prey to lion attacks, which account for over 70% of leopard cub fatalities.
Weighing up to 680 pounds and 10 feet in total length, tigers are the biggest and deadliest of all the big cats on the planet.
What good could come from pitching the smallest big cat against the biggest?
Ferocious by nature, tigers are formidable opponents with a serious knack for hunting. Their solitary nature may make them seem vulnerable, but in reality, they have all the power they need to take down any animal that comes their way.
Eating up to 25 pounds of meat daily, tigers take their hunting very seriously. Once they set their sights on potential prey, there’s no turning back, even if it happens to be a leopard.
However, tigers, like their lion counterparts, don’t often hunt leopards for food unless there are no other options available.
Still, even when they don’t need to kill the leopard for food, they will often try to do so in order to reduce competition for resources.
Next on our list are the laughing predators. They are not the strongest, but as a clan, they are a force not to be underestimated.
The next meal is always on the mind of these opportunistic predators, and they will do anything to get it, even if that’s leopard meat.
What’s fascinating about hyenas is that, despite their reputation as scavengers and kleptoparasitic (animals that steal other animals’ food), hyenas are actually the most successful predators in Africa.
As a matter of fact, hyenas have a hunting success rate as high as 75%, while “the kings of jungles” have only about 30%.
Utilizing their hunting intelligence and numerical advantage, hyenas create a highly challenging situation for their prey to escape.
And if a prey happens to be a leopard. Well, let’s just say that hyenas wouldn’t mind having a feline for lunch.
Pythons are large, muscular constrictor snakes that kill their prey by tightly coiling around them and squeezing until they suffocate. It’s a brutal but effective hunting strategy.
While smaller pythons focus on rodents and other small vertebrates, the Burmese python and African rock python are both big species that can take down prey much larger than themselves.
And when the perfect opportunity presents itself, these massive snakes don’t hesitate to shoot at leopards.
Still, despite their size, adult leopards are rarely targeted by pythons. Instead, it’s the young, inexperienced cats that are most at risk. For pythons, a young leopard represents a significant meal that can sustain them for weeks.
But leopards are no pushovers, either. When they encounter a python, they’re more than capable of turning the tables and making a meal out of the snake instead.
Although humans don’t typically consume these majestic cats (at least in most countries), we still remain the number one threat to their survival.
Leopards are relentlessly hunted for their skin, bones, and other body parts, causing their populations to plummet to dangerously low levels.
Some people even target these magnificent creatures to protect their livestock or to eliminate competition for wild boar or deer hunting.
It’s a tragic reality that has pushed the leopard population in North Africa and Asia to the brink of extinction.
The last members of our list of animals that eat leopards are vultures. Vultures feed by scavenging on carrion (carcasses).
In fact, they are one of the very few animals that eat dead animals almost exclusively.
These birds of prey have a unique digestive system that can handle the most putrid and toxic of meals. Their stomach acid is so corrosive that it can dissolve bones and kill harmful bacteria, making them immune to diseases that would be fatal to other animals.
Still, apart from their scary appearance, as scavengers, vultures don’t hunt leopards. They rarely attack any healthy animal except when threatened.
However, being the ultimate scavengers of the animal kingdom, they prey on weakness.
When they sense an animal is wounded, sick, or displays any form of weakness whatsoever, vultures begin to flock around and wait for the animal to die so they can start feeding on its corpse.
How Do Leopards Protect Themselves From Predators?
Being apex predators themselves, adult leopards are rarely targeted by another predator.
However, as we have seen, leopards still face threats, so they rely on several physical and behavioral adaptations to protect themselves from predators and survive in their habitat.
Cats, being cats, leopards are great climbers, and they spend much of their time in trees. They climb with great efficiency and can move quickly from the tree bottom to the top, making it difficult for most predators to follow them. Leopards are even known to drag their prey and stash them in trees.
Thanks to their spotted coat, leopards blend perfectly in with their surroundings while moving through grasses and trees, making them difficult to spot by both prey and predators. This physical adaptation is super important for the big cats as it helps them stay hidden and avoid detection.
- Speed and Agility
Leopards are speedy and agile animals, and they can move quickly to avoid predators or catch prey. Whether dodging danger or hunting down their next meal, leopards run up to 36 miles per hour, making it difficult for predators to catch them or for prey to run away.
- Sharp Senses
Leopards are masters of alertness, with the ability to sense danger lurking around them. Their eyes and ears are like finely-tuned instruments, allowing them to detect even minimal noise. Whether they’re scanning the horizon for potential threats or stealthily stalking their target, leopards are always on high alert and ready to spring into action.
Finally, when cornered with no escape route, these ferocious felines won’t back down. Instead, they stand their ground with unwavering courage and use their incredible strength to defend themselves against any foe. Leopards are dangerous animals with razor-sharp claws and teeth like weapons of mass destruction, capable of inflicting serious damage on anyone who threatens them.