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South Africa’s Kruger National Park is a great place to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. The video below shows a young leopard hunting as he stalks his next meal. While that’s amazing footage to capture on its own, what happens next really sends the leopard over the edge.
The video begins with some introductory footage of a leopard walking through the tall grass of South Africa. Captions at the bottom inform the viewer that this is typical behavior for these animals. They walk through their territory, looking for rivals that might be trying to steal it from them. The video cuts to a shot of a young leopard crouched down as he slinks through the grass. He moves very slowly, looking at animals in the distance. Unlike other big cats, these animals rely on stealth to hunt.
The next shot shows another leopard sneaking up on him. As the first one waits patiently for just the right moment to pounce, the other big cat is doing some stalking of his own. This is the territory rivalry in action. Captions on the bottom give extra information about what is going on. The younger leopard has gone into the territory of an older male, who is now getting ready to attack.
The younger big cat turns his head. With such keen senses, it’s hard to imagine that he doesn’t have some idea that he is being watched. Both leopards move slowly, waiting for just the right moment to attack or react.
Finally, both leopards leap at each other, baring their teeth. They tussle for a second before the older one chases the younger into the grass. The person holding the camera tries to keep up as they run back into the wild but the two leopards are just too fast. They disappear into the grass and brush.
What Do Leopards Normally Eat?
Leopards don’t attack other leopards for food. This behavior is territorial. The older male leopard is chasing the younger one out of his territory. The younger leopard was there to hunt and the video shows a nearby kill. Leopards generally eat smaller mammals, including deer, warthogs, and rodents. They use their stealth as well as their strength and speed to overcome prey. Rather than run in short bursts, like some other big cats, leopards get very close to their prey before pouncing. They are capable of some very amazing acrobatics to get a kill.
These big cats often climb trees to hunt as well as rest, play, and eat their prey. They have strong legs that help them manage the climbs. They tend to stay to themselves, preferring solitary life over living in packs or herds. This is one reason why they can be so territorial. Young cubs do stay with their mothers for around 18 months to two years, however. Once they are independent, leopards go off on their own.
Is It Normal for Leopards to Stalk Each Other?
It is not normal for a leopard to apparently stalk another leopard. However, the motivation behind this leopard’s actions could shed some light on the scenario. Generally, leopards are solitary cats that don’t seek contact with others unless it’s for the purpose of mating, or in a family unit, assisting in the raising of cubs. Leopards are territorial, though. A particular leopard may have a certain area that it has claimed ownership of by marking it with urine or creating claw marks on trees.
In the case of the video above, the leopard may have unknowingly entered the territory of the second leopard. If so, the latter was watching him and preparing for conflict. When the first leopard became aware, a chase ensued. The second leopard could very well have cleared the other one out of its territory. If only we could read the minds of animals!
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