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Why does a leopard need its spotted coat?
Question Date: 2017-02-22
Answer 1:

Great question. It may not seem like it, but the spots actually help leopards hide in bushes and trees. If you look at a leopard in a zoo or out in the open grass, the spots really make it stand out, but in environments where there are lots of light and dark patches of different sizes and shades, it helps to have a lot of spots, splotches, or stripes to break up your background. That’s why the military use camouflage. There's a great site on this at: natureworks . Check out this great black and white shot of a leopard at night. You can see how patches of light and dark hide its shape: click here .

There are a few cats (not counting pet cats) that don’t have a lot of stripes and spots. Some jaguars are all black due to a mutation. If you look at them in the correct light, you can see the outline of their spots. Lions and mountain lions are mostly sandy colored, but their cubs are born spotted. Even with adults, if you look closely, you can sometimes see spots or stripes, so their ancestors probably had them.

Why do you think lions and mountain lions are mostly one color? I wonder if it has to do with them being in rocks or grass a lot where they wouldn’t be hidden in shadows. Maybe being big makes a difference.

Have you notices that almost all of these cats have light-colored bellies? That’s because their bellies are usually in the shadow of their bodies. If it the fur color on the belly were as dark as the back and side fur, the belly would really stand out. But don’t take my word for it. Take an empty can and try wrapping in in different shades of paper, white, gray, black, whatever. Hold it on its side with the light above it. Try rolling the dark side up or down and see what combinations would make the can the easiest to see.

If you’re interested in questions like this, you may want to study animal ecology.

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

A leopard needs a spotted coat to fit in with its surroundings. This is called camouflage. As you can see from the picture , the spotted coat fits in well with the green and yellow grass. This allows the leopard to hunt food without being seen, and allows it to hide from predators such as lions or tigers.

Answer 3:

Leopard’s spots are used to help them camouflage in the various grasslands or forests they usually live in. Think about it: in nature, how often are surfaces every one solid color? Rarely, right? In order to better hide, leopards need to be patterned similarly to background. Spots, blotches, and stripes also make it more difficult to see the outline of an animal. It is very similar to military or hunter camouflage patterns. All hunters want to stay hidden from their prey and leopards and their spots are a perfect example of this. Thank you for your question!

Answer 4:

The spotted coat is used to confuse herbivores. If you see a leopard out in the open, it's very obvious. If you see a leopard hiding in tall grass, the spots actually improve its camouflage rather than make it more visible. Thus the spots allow the cat to sneak up on its prey.

Answer 5:

The leopard doesn't need its spotted coat, because there are black leopards that don't have spotted coats. Spotted coats are useful for leopards if they lives in a place where the spots provide camouflage, so their predators can't see them as easily among the shrubs or other plants where they live.

Answer 6:

Thanks for the great question!

Whenever we ask why a living thing looks the way that it does, we are asking about its evolutionary history. Animals look and act the way they do because of their genes.

Genes create adaptations or features of an animal that help it survive and reproduce. The distinctive markings on the coat of the leopard, called rosettes, are an example of an adaptation that makes the animal successful.

Rosettes on the leopard’s coat are a form of camouflage that helps the cat blend into shade, shadows, and plants. The spots help hide the leopard from its prey, allowing the cat to sneak up and capture its food. Also, the spots make it harder for competitors and predators, like lions and tigers, to find the leopard.

Thanks for the question,

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