|Why does a leopard need its spotted coat?|
|Question Date: 2017-02-22|
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
If you’re interested in questions like this,
you may want to study animal ecology.
Thanks for asking,
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
Leopard’s spots are used to help them
in the various grasslands or forests they usually
live in. Think about it: in nature, how often are
surfaces every one solid color? Rarely,
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!
The spotted coat is used to confuse
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.
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
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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