Why leopards ￼climb trees
Leopard has the ideal physiology for tree climbing. They are lightweight compared to a lion; they are powerfully built in their shoulders and forelimbs, allowing them to pull themselves up steep tree trunks; they have a low centre of gravity and incredibly high power-to-weight ratio; they have protractile claws allowing them to grip bark , sometimes one can see scratch marks on a tree trunk where a leopard has climbed previously , their front limbs are free from attachment to the collarbone (joined only by ligament and muscle) which allows free movement; their mobile backbone allows them to twist and turn and balance themselves, twisting up to 180 degrees relative to the other half of their body; and their tails are long, slender and sturdy for keeping balance when climbing. These adaptations make the leopard the most successful climber of all the predators in the wild.
One of the most incredible things to watch a leopard do is climb a tree and navigate the branches. Many people associate leopards with trees. They ask, “Have you seen a leopard in a tree?
The answer is no, one does not always find a leopard in a tree, far less regularly than one would imagine in fact. In the Jungle , adult leopards will climb trees to hoist kills (stashing them out of the reach of hyenas and other scavengers), or to flee from wild dogs, hyenas or lions chasing them. Sometimes they just go up into the canopy to take advantage of a cooling breeze. Over time, as they become experienced adults, leopards learn that climbing trees unnecessarily is a waste of the precious energy that they will need to hunt and mark territory. Younger leopards, however, may climb trees for play or to hone their climbing ability. Sometimes leopards rest in the branches of trees with dense canopies in order to escape the heat of the day and increase their sense of safety.
Most of a leopard’s time is actually spent terrestrially; they live a far less arboreal life than many people think. So yes, look in trees when searching for a leopard, but mainly look on the ground!!