Difference WikiAnimals

Difference Between Tiger and Leopard

Main Difference

The main difference between Tiger and Leopard is that Tiger has dark striped fur with orange or white background, whereas Leopard has dark spotted or rosette fur with a yellowish-brown background.

Tiger vs. Leopard

The scientific name of tigers is Panthera tigris; however, the scientific name of the leopard is Panthera pardus. Tiger contains an orange or white background with vertical stripes on it; on the other hand, the leopard has a yellowish-brown or gold background with dark spots or rosettes on it. According to the cat family, the size of the tiger is larger; comparatively, the size of the leopard is smaller. The weight of the tiger is above 500 pounds, while the weight of a leopard is near 140 pounds. The strength of the leopard is less than the strength of the tiger, as the body structure of the tiger consists of stronger shoulders and legs as compared to leopard.

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When the tiger is straightened, its length is about 6 ft with a tail of length 3 ft; on the flip side, the straightened length of the leopard is above 6.25 ft with a tail of length 4.5 ft in length. The print of the tiger fur is in the form of black stripes; on the other hand, the print of leopard fur is in the form of dark rosettes or spots. The climbing potential of a leopard is more as their resting points are treetops, but the climbing ability of tigers is less comparatively. Tigers have almost six subspecies including Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, South China tiger, Indochinese tiger, Sumatran tiger, and Malayan tiger; on the other side, leopards have almost seven subspecies including African Leopard, Indian Leopard, Arabian Leopard, Persian Leopard, North-Chinese Leopard, Amur Leopard, Indochinese Leopard.

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In early period leopard was considered a cross-breed of lion and panther therefore referred by the mixture of two Greek words ‘Leon’ (lion) and ‘Pardos’ (panther) for its name; on the flip side, the tiger name was also from Greek word ‘Tigris’ which means arrow denoting a tiger’s speed. Leopards are mostly present at the locations of Sub-Saharan Africa and also in China, India, Indo-china, and Malaysia, while tigers are present at the locations of eastern and southern Asia. Dense forests are the habitats in which leopards live, whereas tigers live in the habitats of deserts, grasslands, forests, and mountains.

The body structure of tigers is strong with long muscular bodies provided by stocky and thick legs with extended heavy tails; however, the body structure of leopards is slim, slender, and long. In the case of the conservation status of tigers are estimated as endangered species; on the other hand, leopards are estimated as almost threatened species caused by the shortage of their natural habitats. Among all the big cat species, the tiger is one of the biggest cats worldwide, but the leopard is the smallest one among big cats species.

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Comparison Chart

TigerLeopard
It is the largest species of all big cats recognized by its dark striped fur.It is the smallest species of all big cats recognized by its dark-spotted and rosettes fur.
Average Size
9-11 ft long4-7 ft long
Average Weight
300 kg90 kg
Top Speed
49 – 65 km/h58 km/h
Lifespan
16 to 18 years12 to 17 years
Prey
Ambar deer, wild pigs, water buffalo, antelopeDeer, Warthog, Rodents
Background Body Color
Reddish orangeYellowish-brown or gold
Fur Print
Black vertical stripesDark rosettes and spots
Number of Species
67
Location
East and southern Asia.Southern Asia and southern Saharan Africa
Habitat
Dense forestForests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts
Conservation Status
EndangeredThreatened
Body Type
Muscular bodySlender body
Scientific Name
Panthera tigrisPanthera pardus
Tail Length
3 ft4.5 ft

What is Tiger?

Among all the big cats, the tiger is the biggest worldwide, and its scientific name is Panthera tigris. They are strong animals having muscular body structure provided by stocky and thick legs with extended heavy tails. This slaughter machine possesses the ability to jump up to 4-5 meters high and leap above 9 meters long. Tigers have six sub-species, including Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, South China tiger, Indochinese tiger, Sumatran tiger, and Malayan tiger. The subspecies have a resemblance to each other; however, they have a slight difference in their body structure, size, thickness, and color of their fur.

They are identifiable for their dark verticle stripes with reddish-orange background fur. Tigers are the top hunters that prefer to hunt ungulates like wild boar. They are generally areal and solitary, however, and large adjacent habitats are indispensable for social predators as fulfill their requirements of preys and look after their cubs. Meanwhile, the tiger cubs are not grown up and get independent; they remain in their mother’s guardian unless they are capable of leaving the home territory to manage their own.

Among the charismatic megafauna, a tiger is the top list popular and recognized animal worldwide presenting ancient folk tales and also portrayed in current media, films, literature, and occurs on most coats of arms, flags and sporting team’s mascots. It is also the national animal of countries like India, Bangladesh, South Korea, Malaysia, and India.

White tigers also exist among the tigers having black striped fur on the vivid white color coat. White tigers are produced by transmutation; therefore, they have rare existence in the wildlife. The origin of tigers is south, and eastern Asia, and their preference for habitat is a dense forest. The qualities of tigers are excellent climbers, hunters, swimmers, and jumpers. The average length of tigers is about 9-11 ft long, and the average weight is above 300 kg. The conservation status of tigers is an endangered species.

What is Leopard?

Leopard is a distinct small-sized species of wild cat that is native to sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It belongs to the family ‘Felidae’ of a big cat, and Panthera pardus is the scientific name of the leopard. It has almost seven subspecies, including African Leopard, Indian Leopard, Arabian Leopard, Persian Leopard, North-Chinese Leopard, Amur Leopard, Indochinese Leopard. The body structure of the leopard is a long and lean body along with a big skull size, short and solid legs, and an extended tail that provides balance in the trees.

The coloration and markings on leopards depend on their habitat. They have dense yellowish-brown fur marked with rosettes that provide camouflage in the surrounding environment. They are very agile, strong, muscular, and opportunistic hunters and climbers. They have retractable claws that can draw in folds of skin of paws. Leopards adapt various types of habitats, including rainforests, deserts, mountains, and tree-lined savannah. They have a solitary, nocturnal lifestyle with powerful hearing, sight, and sensitive whiskers that help them hunt at night. Leopards are unique among felines as they rely on getting enough close to their prey before attacking it.

Leopard cubs follow their mother at 6 to 8 weeks of age, weaned at three months old, and remain with their mother for another 18 months until they establish their territories. The average length of an adult leopard is from 4-7 ft long, and the average weight is above 90 kg. The Leopards primarily hunts mammals such as Deer and Warthogs; however, they also eat small prey, including birds, reptiles, and rodents, even Dung Beetles.

Their characteristics include whitish belly with a short ringed tail as compared to their bodies and roundish pupils. Leopards are yellowish to ochraceous, reddish-brown, and pale cream that live at dry locations and, some have deep golden, and darker color that lives at mountains and forests. However, they have grayish fur that is likely to grow longer in cold regions. Underneath the lower legs and underbelly of leopards are white as the spots fade at those parts of the body.

Key Differences

  1. The average length of adult tigers is up to 9-11 feet long; on the other hand, the average length of leopards is above 4-7 feet long.
  2. The largest species among all big cats are a tiger with an average weight of 300 kilograms, while the smallest species among all big cats us a leopard with an average weight of 90 kilograms.
  3. Tigers contain orange or white background with vertical stripes on it, whereas leopard has a yellowish-brown or gold background with dark spots or rosettes on it.
  4. The number of subspecies of tigers is six, contrarily in case of leopards, the number of subspecies is 7.
  5. Tigers are associated with the regions of south and eastern Asia; on the flip side, the leopards are associated with the regions of sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia.
  6. Tigers adapt to live in habitats such as dense forests, but leopards adapt to live in habitats such as grasslands, mountains, deserts, and forests.
  7. The conservation status of the tiger is an endangered species; however, the conservation status of the tiger is threatened.
  8. The body structure of tigers is strong with long muscular bodies provided by stocky and thick legs with extended heavy tails; on the other hand, the body structure of leopards is slim, slender, and long.

Conclusion

Tigers and leopards both species belong to the big cat family; however, they differ in their body structures, size, and locations. Among the big cat family, tigers are the largest species with the orange fur coat along with vertical stripes and muscular bodies, whereas leopards are the smallest species with yellowish-brown fur coat along with rosettes and slender body.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson