KENNETH W. FINK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNETH W. FINK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black leopard. Black (melanistic) South Chinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) resting on a rock. Melanistic leopards (sometimes called black panthers) occur as natural variations of the normal leopards' gold and black colour. Leopards are the most widespread of the big cats, living in central Africa and throughout southern Asia. This subspecies lives in Vietnam, Thailand and eastern India as well as southern China. Leopards are solitary and largely nocturnal, and spend the day resting in a favourite tree. They tend to ambush their prey from trees. After eating their fill, they drag the carcass up a tree to protect it from scavengers.
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