1. Several members of the cat family have spotted fur. Do you know the difference between a leopard, a jaguar, and a cheetah? From a distance, they may look similar. But they are clearly different when seen at close range. They are different in where they live, how big they are, how they hunt, and how their fur is marked.
2. Of all the big cats in the wild, the leopard is found across the largest area. Leopards live in much of Asia and Africa. A leopard can be three to six feet long. They are skilled climbers than can hunt monkeys in trees. When food is scarce, they will eat fruit, field mice, and large insects. Leopard spots are not actually solid spots; they are broken circles.
3. The jaguar is native to the Americas. Its natural range is from the southern United States to Central America. The largest population of jaguars lives in Brazil and Central America. Jaguars are usually between three and six feet long and have large bodies and heads. Their legs are shorter and thicker than a leopard’s. Jaguars are excellent climbers and can also swim. They eat a variety of land, tree, and water animals. Their fur can be a vivid yellow or rusty color. Their spots are called rosettes. Each rosette is large and black. The rosettes have of a middle spot with a circle of spots around it.
4. Most cheetahs live in the wilds of Africa. However, some also live in Iran and Afghanistan. The cheetah’s head is smaller than the leopard’s head. And its body is longer. This cat is built for speed. Its legs are much longer than a leopard’s. Being fast allows the cheetah to catch its favorite prey, which is the antelope. In fact, a cheetah can run at speeds of up to seventy miles per hour. A cheetah’s spots are black spots, not rosettes or circles.