Javan Leopard - Characteristics, Feeding and Keeping

Javan leopard: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The leopard (Panthera pardus) is an intrepid feline which, although not...

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The leopard (Panthera pardus) is an intrepid feline which, although it is not the largest of this group of animals, surprises with the power of its jaws and the solidity of its legs, which can capture animals much larger than him. Although it was not easy, 8 subspecies of leopards have been identified, all distributed between the African and Asian continents, which, although presenting certain common characteristics, are differentiated by their genotype and certain physical characteristics.

In this AnimalPlanet fact sheet, we focus on the characteristics of the Javan leopard (P. p. melas), as well as their habits, habitat and conservation status.

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  • Asia
  • Indonesia

Characteristics of the Javan Leopard

The Javan leopard is one of the subspecies for which there are the fewest confirmed data, because it is very difficult to observe it and its population is extremely low.

This is a small subspecies compared to others, whose weight is estimated to be slightly more than that of the Arabian leopard, which weighs an average of 30 kg for males and 20 kg for females, and whose length is 1.90 meters for males and 1.60 meters for females. Thus, it is estimated that the Javan leopard is slightly larger than the Arabian one.

Its color is golden, rarely pale yellow, and it is one of the subspecies that most frequently presents melanism, a recessive genetic mutation that considerably increases the production of melanin in the individual, and as this is responsible for the darkening of the skin, it then gives rise to totally black leopards. This condition has become an advantage for individuals living in wooded and humid areas as it helps them camouflage and thermoregulate. Despite the dark form of the fur, these individuals, when observed closely, can be distinguished by the black rosettes that are characteristic of different types of leopards.

Where does the Javan leopard live?

This leopard lives on the island of Java, Indonesia. It is thought that the subspecies may not be native to the island, but was introduced there from India. Due to some fossils, it is also possible that he arrived in the area by crossing a land bridge that existed in the Pleistocene.

As for the habitat, it has been identified that it is found in different protected areas of the island, which can be formed by mountain forests, subalpine forests, forest corridors, areas with coastal proximity and volcanic regions.

Habits of the Javan Leopard

The Javan leopard is an elusive animal that is very difficult to spot. It was identified thanks to the transmitter collars of two individuals that the hours of greatest activity corresponded to the morning hours, between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., as well as in the afternoon, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

This subspecies is unlikely to have noticeably different behaviors from others, so it must be a mostly solitary animal, only coming together for breeding periods and while females raise their young. Territoriality is an important characteristic of the species. Males generally have larger territories than females.

What does the Java leopard eat?

The Javan leopard, like all leopards, is a carnivorous animal that feeds by hunting various prey. Among the different types of animals he manages to consume are:

  • Deer
  • Boar
  • Java Mouse Deer
  • Crab-Eating Monkeys
  • Silver Leaf Monkey
  • Gibbon
  • Goats
  • Birds
  • Dogs
  • Reptiles

Find out what leopards eat!

Reproduction of the Javan leopard

As mentioned above, some biological aspects of the subspecies are not well known. However, leopards are known to be promiscuous animals and do not form fixed pairs. Females use pheromones through their urinary excretions to indicate their state of estrus, as well as courtship when meeting a potential mate.The heat period lasts approximately 7 days and repeats approximately every 46 days.

The Javan leopard, like other leopards, breeds all year round, with peaks during the rainy season. Gestation lasts an average of 96 days, with an average rate of 2 young per birth. Newborn babies are absolutely dependent on their mother. They are usually weaned at 3 months and remain with her until they are one or one and a half years old.

State of conservation of the Javan leopard

The leopard as a species is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the category of vulnerable species. However, some subspecies are subject to special classification, such as the Javan leopard, which is considered critically endangered.

The latest estimates indicate that there are between 350 and 525 individuals, of which less than 250 are breeding adults.Threats that have contributed to this unfortunate situation include direct hunting, habitat fragmentation due to agricultural development and urban sprawl, and the significant decline in the leopard's natural prey.

The Indonesian government has encouraged some actions to curb the decline of the Javan leopard population, such as enforcing laws prohibiting hunting, some educational plans to control the population growth of people who end up affect the fauna, the maintenance of protected areas where the feline lives and, at the international level, the inclusion in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Java Leopard pictures

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