|“||So leopards say hello with their teeth. So what?||”|
In the Real World
Leopards are graceful and long-bodied animals. Their coats come in shades of yellow, cream, and gold, with white underparts. The spots on their throat, chest, head, and lower limbs and small and solid, unlike the rosettes patterning the rest of their fur. Leopards have broad heads and rounded ears.
In The Lion Guard
Leopards in The Lion Guard are cream-colored animals with rosettes larger than those of real world leopards. They also lack spots in the areas that leopards have small, solid spots, with the exception of his head. Their rosettes are outlined in black and filled in with deep brown.
In the Real World
Leopards are very stealthy and cunning big cats that hunt nocturnally and crepuscular. Leopards are the biggest (and only) large predators of the African jungles, which makes them the apex predators of such areas. On the savannas, however, they are usually dominated by lions and spotted hyenas, though large males have been observed hunting and killing the latter. Leopards are the smallest of the Panthera genus to which lions also belong to. Yet despite their small size, leopards are the most widespread of all the big cats. This is because leopards can adapt quite easily to different environments (Leopards have been found in jungles, grasslands, savannas, mountains and even urban areas) and are less picky in terms of diet compared to other big cats, as they feed on a variety of animals and bugs, including hartebeests, impalas, warthogs, jackals, and dung beetles. To avoid burnout while hunting, leopards often lie on a tree branch, wait for an animal to pass underneath, and then pounce on it. Once a large kill is made, a leopard will often store it in a tree, out of the reach of other predators.
Despite the lion's reputation as king of the jungle or king of beasts, this is only the case in Western culture. In Africa itself, the majority of the tribes actually thought of the leopard as the ultimate predator and king of the jungle. The ancient people of Benin had a ritual where the heir of the throne had to sacrifice a leopard to the gods. It symbolized that the future king of the people was blessed with the power and wisdom with now deceased king of the beasts. Wearing the fur of a leopard was considered standard in many rituals, as well as a sign of royalty, such as with the Zulus. Some tribes, such as the Mabadu, worshiped leopards to the extremes, and gave rise to the Anioto, more commonly known as the 'Leopard Men', a cult of cannibalistic assassins and religious extremists that took part in ceremonial sacrifices and much more.
In The Lion Guard
Makucha the leopard was a diurnal hunter in the episode that he made his appearance, though two other leopards both slept in the daylight hours. None live in the Pride Lands, and they are therefore unfamiliar to all Pride Landers, while a couple are confirmed to reside in the Back Lands. It is stated by Ajabu that a leopard's favorite food is okapi. Leopards have a reputation as aggressive animals, as it has been stated that they greet others with their teeth and are supposed to be fierce hunters and fighters, who rarely give up their territory without a fight.
Some galagos approach the Lion Guard, reporting a frightening leopard in their tree. The Guard goes to investigate, and finds Badili, who claims to be a friendly leopard. However, his claws and teeth prove intimidating to the galagos, and it decided that he must leave. He complies with great reluctance. When he reaches his territory, he scratches at a tree, but is soon approached by Mapigano, who bullies him out of his territory. The Guard confronts Badili on this, and he explains that leopards are supposed to be fierce creatures, and he was embarassed not to be. The Guard decides to help him, and Badili is soon able to face Mapigano and drive him away.