Amur Leopard - Characteristics, Habit and Behavior

Amur leopard: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Leopards (Panthera pardus) are a group of animals that are...

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Leopards (Panthera pardus) are a group of animals that are grouped together within the felines, more precisely in the subfamily Pantherines. Eight subspecies have been distinguished and, although they have a close relationship, as well as several common characteristics, they have certain differences between them (especially in the environments in which they live). This is why, in this issue of PlanèteAnimal, we are going to focus on one of them, the Amur leopard.

These felids are beautiful animals that have some impressive behaviors, such as their agility and strength. The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) also has certain characteristics that make it unique. Read on and discover all the characteristics that make the Amur leopard unique!


  • Asia
  • China
  • Russia

Characteristics of the Amur leopard

The Amur leopard has certain characteristics that differentiate it from other subspecies. For example:

  • What sets him apart the most is his coat, which in the winter season is about 7 cm long, while in summer it is only 2.5 cm.
  • The coat also changes color depending on the season, being light yellow in winter, but more reddish and shiny in summer.
  • The typical rosettes of the group are also characteristic of this species, as they are more widely spaced, about 2.5 cm, and the edges are thicker. The size of each rosette is approximately 5cm x 5cm.
  • Weighing between 32 and 48 kg and very rarely 75 kg, males are larger and heavier than females. Females weigh between 25 and 43 kg.
  • The tail is long and measures about 80cm.
  • Males can reach a length of almost 2 meters.
  • Unlike other types of leopards, this subspecies has longer legs, which is likely an adaptation for better mobility in the snow.

Interestingly, the Amur leopard is also known as the North Chinese leopard and includes the subspecies P. p. japonensis.

Where does the Amur leopard live?

The Amur leopard is native to China and the Russian Far East. It is also distinguished from other leopards by the habitat in which it lives. Currently, it is only present in northeast China, on the Russian border, and there may be some in North Korea.

Amur leopard habitat

The habitat type of the Amur leopard corresponds to mixed coniferous forests, deciduous forests, mountainous areas and rocky areas. It is well adapted to be in regions with heavy snowfall and very low temperatures for several months of the year. In some regions, it is present between 600 and 1200 meters of altitude.

Among the protected areas where the Amur leopard has been observed include Hunchun National Nature Reserve and Foping National Nature Reserve, both located in China.

Habits of the Amur leopard

Like other leopards, the Amur leopard is a solitary animal, except for females when they are with their young. However, it has been reported that in some areas some males may stay with the female while raising their young.

On the other hand, the Amur leopard is active during the day and at dusk, in both summer and winter. Its territories are strongly associated with the availability of prey, and this feline is very loyal to the areas it establishes as its own, so that over time it remains on the same migratory routes, the same places of rest and hunting.

Overlapping territories happen very rarely as they produce bloody clashes. On the other hand, adult males tend to have larger territories than females and juveniles.

Amur leopard feeding

The Amur leopard, like the rest of its congeners, is a carnivorous animal, which depends on hunting its prey for food.The greatest activity of the feline coincides with that of some of the animals on which it feeds. Among the different species it feeds on, we find:

  • Siberian Roe Deer
  • Manchurian sika deer
  • Ussuri Boar
  • Manchurian Elk
  • Siberian musk deer
  • Moment of Love
  • Hares
  • Asian Tigron
  • Birds
  • Mouse
  • Asian Black Bear Cubs

In the article about what leopards eat, we talked about different hunting techniques, don't miss it!

Reproduction of the Amur leopard

Another characteristic of the Amur leopard is its reproduction. Females have a well-established territory in which they also breed. Individuals usually reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age.Females have an estrus period of 12 to 18 days, and although this species in general can breed all year round, the Amur leopard mainly breeds in spring and early summer.

Gestation time averages 95 days. Litters usually consist of 2 to 3 cubs weighing a maximum of 700 grams. At birth, they are totally dependent on their mother because they are blind until at least the first week of life when they open their eyes. It is only from the second month that they begin to explore the exterior of the den and to eat the food brought by the mother, before that they are only fed with mother's milk. Weaning can occur around the age of 6 months.

The Amur leopard becomes fully independent at the age of two, although in some cases it may stay with its mother a bit longer.

Conservation status of the Amur leopard

Although the species is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable, the Amur leopard is subject to a different classification and is considered critically endangered . Indeed, although it is estimated that the population may have increased slightly, it must not exceed 60 adult individuals, absolutely dramatic figures. However, recognized foundations such as the World Wildlife Fund estimate the number of leopards in the wild at around 100.

But why is the Amur leopard in danger? The reasons for this situation are the relentless hunting of the feline for its fur, illegal trade, conversion of habitat for road construction and other developments, fires, deforestation and climate change. However, some conservation initiatives are helping to h alt the extinction of the Amur leopard.

Amur Leopard Pictures

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