My Wild Cat paintings are inspired by my love for these magnificent animals. "Catballou" is my painting of a Leopard (Panthera pardus). The original "Catballou" was sold to a private art collector on Long Island, NY. The leopard is the ultimate cat. It's the most secretive, elusive, shrewdest and also the smallest member of the 4 great big cats. Pound for pound, it is the strongest climber of the large cats and very comfortable in trees where they can eat, rest and hunt due to their spotted coats blending in with the leaves. Leopards are great athletes! They are very strong swimmers and are one of the few cats that like water. They are able to run in bursts up to 36 miles an hour (58 kilometers per hour), leap 20 feet (6 meters) forward in a single bound, and jump ten feet (3 meters) straight up.
Leopards are closely related to jaguars, with a similar body structure. They have a long body, relatively short powerful legs, a heavy torso, thick neck, and a long tail. Their tawny coat is covered with dark, irregular circles called "rosettes." The rosettes, are circular in East African leopards but square in southern African leopards.
Leopards vary in length from 3 - 6ft (91 to 191 centimeters); with a tail length of 22.5" - 44" inches (58 to 110 centimeters); and stand 17.5" - 30.5" high at the shoulder. Males weigh between 80 - 200lb. (36 to 90 kilograms); and females between 62 - 132lb. (28 to 60 kilograms). Leopards usually live around 12 to 15 years in the wild, up to 23 years in zoos.
Leopards are very adaptable and able to live in a wide variety of habitats, from semi-desert to tropical rain forests. Because of this versatility, it is the most numerous of Africa's big cats. They live in sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India, and China. However, many of their populations are endangered, especially those areas outside of Africa.
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