Watch a Leopard Make an Incredibly Brave Leap Between Branches to Catch a Monkey

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: December 23, 2022
© Pavith Malaka/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Key Points

  • It is normal behavior for leopards to hunt monkeys.
  • Leopards are found across sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia where they like to spend a lot of their time in the branches of trees.
  • Their hunting occurs during the day time on the ground.

The leopard is an accomplished, agile and athletic hunter. They will exploit opportunities for hunting prey that larger and heavier big cats, like the tiger, cannot manage.

So, when it comes to hunting in trees, leopards are world-leading experts. Even though you may know this, you will still be amazed by this video – especially the last few seconds. It has already been watched over three and a half million times.

We see a leopard pursuing a monkey in the branches of a tree. They leap confidently among smaller and smaller branches despite the gasps from the human onlookers. A few times, it looks as if the leopard is going to fall and they take a lot of risks.

However, they are obviously confident in their ability to recover and are soon back to the pursuit. In a stunning finale, the leopard makes a death-defying leap to snatch the money in their jaws. As one of the onlookers exclaims “That is good!”

Leopards Hunting in Trees

Leopards are found across sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia where they like to spend a lot of their time in the branches of trees. Their anatomy has a number of adaptions that allow them to move with ease in this environment.

Their torso is long and slender and they have short legs but a long tail that they can use to balance in the branches. Their strong muscles allow them to climb quickly and their sharp claws grip the bark. However, they can retract those claws when they are walking on the ground which stops them from getting blunt.

Hunting Monkeys

Leopards have excellent hearing and sight and sensitive whiskers so they are equipped to hunt at night even though this particular hunt was during daylight.

They are an ambush predator, which basically means that they sneak up on prey and then lunge at them. That is not quite what we see here – but you will certainly spot the lunge that takes the monkey by surprise.

A leopard growling showing it’s teeth.

©Mohamed Hakem/

As well as monkeys, leopards also hunt warthogs and deer and often do this from a tree! They will wait in the branches and then leap on the prey from above. Leopards also eat birds, rodents and reptiles and will not refuse a dung beetle if other food sources are not available.

At the other end of the scale, they are also strong enough to hunt antelopes but they will often drag their prey into trees where they can enjoy it in peace. Of course, when they catch a monkey in a tree, this will not be necessary.

Do Leopards Normally Hunt Monkeys?

The short answer here is yes, radio tracking data research has shown that forest leopards primarily hunt for monkeys on the ground during the day time.

Faecal analyses has confirmed that monkeys account for a large portion of a leopards diet and revealed that they focus their hunting on eight different species of monkeys and one chimpanzee species.

Not only do leopards prey on monkeys, but they have also been known to take on adult male lowland gorillas, although it is rare.

How long do leopards live?

In the wild, the average lifespan of a leopard is about 12 to 17 years old. However, in captivity and treated properly, these large cats can live up to about 23 years old.

There are about 250,000 leopards in existence today and there are all divided into nine different subspecies.

Leopard vs Gorilla: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Speaking of Gorillas, as we mentioned above, Leopards have been known to take on male gorillas. Just because a leopard takes on a gorilla, doesn’t mean it will win. Although it is most likely a successful outcome for the leopard due to the large cat’s attack speed.

In fact, in our article: Leopard vs Gorilla: Who Would Win in a Fight? we discuss how leopards are much faster than gorillas and this type of movement is difficult for gorillas and other primates to fight off.

A win for a Gorilla would only happen if both animals were placed on equal footing at the gorilla was visually aware of an oncoming threat.

Additionally, gorillas are not apex predators whereas leopards are.

To summarize, in most cases, a leopard would win the fight against a gorilla.

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© Pavith Malaka/

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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