Leopard Vs Tiger: Comparing The Big Cat Contenders!

Written by Peralee Knight
Published: May 23, 2022
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Two more big cat contenders are head-to-head and when it is leopard vs tiger, they are easy to tell apart! Leopards are known for their striking yellow coats with brown spots. And tigers wear their vertical black stripes on yellow, orange, or white fur with pride! But this is far from the only way each of these amazing animals is unique. And we need to compare all of them to decide which one of these ferocious felines would win in a cage match!

Leopard VS Tiger: Physical Characteristics

Leopards and tigers are both on the list of biggest cats in the world. To decide which of these big cats takes the gold, we must look at physical differences. Going into the key characteristics of each animal and what makes them unique is key. Apart from both being feline, tigers and leopards are each in a class all their own!

Physical Characteristics Of Leopards

What Do Leopards Eat?

Leopards are known for not being able to change their spots, which can be deep brown or black. Their fur is tan, brown, black or even white!


  • Leopards are smaller than tigers and average about six feet in length and up to 140 pounds
  • Leopards are sleek, strong, and leanly muscled. Their legs are stocky and built for climbing
  • The spots and coat color vary depending on the environment, from deep brown or black to tan and even white overall
  • The leopard has advanced hearing and vision, adapted for nighttime hunting
  • Leopards can carry animals heavier than themselves while climbing!

Physical Characteristics Of Tigers

Strongest cats - Tiger

Leopards can’t change their spots, and Tigers wear their stripes with pride! Tigers are known for their signature black stripes, but their coats range from reddish-brown to the very rare snowy white!


  • As the largest feline in the world, tigers are 267 to over 300kg in weight and up to ten feet long
  • Tigers are massive, muscular, and powerfully built with long tails that help them balance
  • They have teeth and claws that both measure up to four inches long
  • There are nine subspecies of tiger, and coat colors can be reddish-orange or white.
  • The largest tiger ever weighed over eight hundred pounds
  • The Siberian tiger is the largest and weighs up to 675 pounds
  • Tigers have webbed feet and are excellent swimmers
  • Can reach speeds up to 60 mph
  • The Sumatran tiger is the smallest, around eight feet long and 260 pounds
  • Bengal tigers have the highest population numbers
  • White tigers are caused by a rare genetic mutation and haven’t been seen in the wild for over 50 years

Leopard VS Tiger: Habitat And Behavior

Now that we know all about the physical attributes of tigers and leopards, it is time to investigate habitat and behavior. Would tigers and leopards ever encounter each other in the wild? And if they did, how do each attack or defend themselves and their territory? We know tigers are massive, but leopards are strong as well. It is down to behavior to answer the question of which would win in a fight!

Habitat And Behavior Common In Leopards

Rarest animal – Amur Leopard

Leopards can climb tall trees while dragging a fully grown antelope that weighs much more than they do! The leopard relies on stealth and ambush to capture prey.

©Dmitri Gomon/Shutterstock.com

  • Leopards are nocturnal and solitary
  • They hunt in the trees and on the ground
  • Leopards rely on stealth and ambush to catch prey
  • They can drag and lift a carcass like an antelope that is much heavier than them
  • Leopards are opportunistic predators that go after small and medium-sized prey
  • They carry prey up trees and stash it to avoid larger carnivores
  • Leopards share their natural range with tigers
  • Found in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, in grasslands, rainforests, and mountain regions
  • Leopards are also called Panthers
  • Can run up to 30 mph

Habit And Behavior Common In Tigers

Siberian tiger chasing a bird

Tigers are strong, powerful, and deadly predators that use unmatched power to take down prey large and small.

©GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock.com

  • Tigers are found primarily in South and Southeast Asia, Eastern Russia, and China
  • Subspecies can be found in tropical, temperate, and cold climates
  • Siberian tigers develop an extra fur layer around the neck for added warmth
  •  Habitat depends on individual subspecies, but tigers can be found in mountain areas, rainforests, mangrove forests, grasslands, or even swamps
  • Some tigers migrate
  • A tiger only eats once a week, but they eat a lot, up to seventy-five pounds in one sitting!
  • Tigers stalk their prey for as long as it takes
  • They rely on speed, agility, and deadly power to quickly take down prey
  • All subspecies prefer to hunt at night
  • Tigers are solitary hunters

Who Wins In A Fight, The Leopard Or The Tiger?

Tiger Teeth - Tiger with open mouth

When it comes down to it, the tiger’s teeth, combined with the deadly swipe force of over 10,000 pounds, make the tiger the clear winner and the strongest big cat in the world. Unfortunately, the leopard really can’t win against a tiger.


The facts are undeniable, and we can declare without hesitation that the tiger would beat the leopard hands-down. In fact, the tiger is a known predator of the leopard. Tigers will prey on leopards to take their kill, or in defense of territory. In a one-on-one match, the tiger’s sheer power would easily overwhelm the much smaller leopard. One swipe of a tiger’s paw contains over 10,000 pounds of force. When in a rage, that force can go as high as 18,000 pounds.

There is one animal that is a real threat to both big cat contenders, and that is us. Human beings are still actively hunting these two majestic felines, and both are at risk according to the Endangered Species List. All subspecies of tigers are listed as endangered, and leopards are listed as near threatened. Articles like these that both entertain and educate also have the added privilege of bringing awareness. We are proud to do our part to help all the irreplaceable animals like tigers and leopards that we love.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © dangdumrong/Shutterstock.com

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