Persian Leopard: 13 Facts You Won’t Believe

Persian leopard facts, one of the largest leopard subspecies in the world.

What is the largest leopard species native to western Asia? If you are unable to recall, don't worry! It's a Persian leopard. Are you excited to know few facts about these leopards? Continue reading our article.

The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), also known as a Caucasian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica), is native to the Caucasus region: Turkey, Iran, Southern Russia, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Armenia. Till 1927, the Persian and Caucasian leopards were considered a different species. But research studies in different areas of Persia classified them as the same species, and the scientific names P. p. ciscaucasica and P. p. saxicolor are mentioned as synonyms of P. p. tulliana. Moreover, the phylogenetic analysis indicates that the Persian leopard belongs to a monophyletic group derived from the African and the Arabian leopard in the second half of the Pleistocene.

Read this article to learn more facts about the Persian leopard, and if you like reading, do consider our articles on Florida panther facts and canis panther facts.

Persian Leopard

Fact File

What do they prey on?

West caucasian tur, roe deer, wild boar, onager, goitered gazelle, and mouflon

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

Males: 81.5-198 lb (37-90kg) Females: 62-132 lb (28-60kg)

How long are they?

36-75 inch (91-191 cm)

How tall are they?

1.5-2.7 ft (0.5-1.0 m)

What do they look like?

Grayish red

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Subalpine meadows, rugged ravines, temperate broadleaf, and mixed forests, mountain steppes, rocky slopes, and sparse juniper forests


Caucasus, Turkey, Iran, Southern Russia, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Armenia





Scientific Name

Panthera pardus saxicolor





Persian Leopard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Persian leopard?

The Persian leopard is the largest of all leopard subspecies in the world.

What class of animal does a Persian leopard belong to?

The Persian leopard is a mammal that belongs to the genus Panthera.

How many Persian leopards are there in the world?

The captive and wild population of the Persian leopards are estimated to be 871-1290 mature individuals across the world. Furthermore, as per the census provided by the European Endangered Species Programme in December 2011, there were 112  leopards in zoos worldwide, comprising both males and females.

Out of the estimated population, Iran houses around 550-850 cats, especially in its northwestern boundary. Afghanistan houses around 200-300 cats, while southern Turkmenistan houses 78-90 cats. Armenia and Azerbaijan house more than 30 cats, while the Russian North Caucasus, Georgia, and Turkey house less than 10 individuals in each region.

Where does a Persian leopard live?

A significant population of Persian leopards is found in subalpine meadows, rugged ravines, temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, mountain steppes, rocky slopes, and sparse juniper forests.

What is a Persian leopard's habitat?

The natural habitat of a Persian leopard varies from mountain steppes to grasslands. Its population is spread across the Caucasus, in Turkey, Iran, Southern Russia, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Armenia. The Alborz mountain range in northern Iran and Zagros mountains in southern Iran is considered the home for these leopards. Persian leopards are occasionally spotted in Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

Who do Persian leopards live with?

Generally, leopards prefer to spend most of their time alone. They have their territory and warn other leopards to stay away by leaving scratches on trees, urinating, and pooping. Male and female leopards cross territories only for mating.

How long does a Persian leopard live?

The average lifespan of a Persian leopard is 10-15 years in the wild, and it can survive up to 20 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Usually, the Persian leopard participates in breeding throughout the year. However, in the wild, the breeding season is in the winter season. The female leopard (leopardess) gives birth to two to four cubs after a gestation period of 90-105 days. Their cubs are born with closed eyes and have thicker fur than the adult. They are dependent on their mother for food and follow her on hunting trips. However, the Persian leopard cub becomes independent at the age of nearly 18 months and separates from its mother.

What is their conservation status?

Since 2016, the Persian leopard is classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Persian Leopard Fun Facts

What do Persian leopards look like?

A Persian leopard is considered an intelligent animal compared to lions, tigers, and jaguars.

The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) or the Caucasian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica) is one of the largest of the eight recognized leopard subspecies. The body of this big cat is covered with grayish, slightly reddish fur with black rose-like markings known as rosettes on its back and flanks in large size, smaller rosettes on the shoulder and upper legs, and black spots on the neck and head. The Persian leopard has an average body length of 62 in (157 cm), a 7.2 in (18 cm) long skull, and a 37 in (93 cm) long tail. It looks gigantic because of its stockier body with short legs and usually weighs up to 155 lb (70 kg).

How cute are they?

The Persian leopard's gigantic body, color, and walking style make it appealing. More than an adult cat, Persian leopard cubs are cute.

How do they communicate?

Like tigers, lions, and jaguars, the Caucasian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica) makes rough and rasping sounds like a roar and growl to indicate its presence, communicate with other individuals. In addition, it marks its territory with claw marks, feces, and urine to warn other leopards.

How big is a Persian leopard?

The Persian leopard is considered to be the largest of all the subspecies. It usually grows up to 1.5-2.7 ft (0.5-1.0 m) tall at the shoulder and a head and body length of nearly 75 in (190.5 cm). Usually, males grow to be larger than females.

How fast can a Persian leopard move?

Generally, leopards are fast-moving animals. They run at a speed of 36 mph (58 kph) while hunting. In addition to their speed, they can jump 20 ft forward and leap 10 feet straight upward.

How much does a Persian leopard weigh?

Like other leopards, the male weighs more than the female.

Males usually weigh 81.5-198 lb (37-90 kg), while females weigh 62-132 lb (28-60 kg)

What are their male and female names of the species?

Generally, a male is called a Persian leopard, while a female is known as a Persian leopardess.

What would you call a baby Persian leopard?

The babies of a Persian leopard are referred to as cubs.

What do they eat?

Persian leopards are carnivores, and their diet varies across their habitat range. These animals adapt quickly to the changes in their diet depending on the availability of its prey. They primarily prey on roe deer, onager, goitered gazelle, mouflon, and west caucasian tur.

Are they poisonous?

Caucasian leopards (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica) are not venomous. Instead, they usually kill their prey by piercing their hooked claws and biting the prey's neck or throat with their sharp and strong teeth.

Would they make a good pet?

The Persian leopard is a wild animal with heavy diet requirements. That's why they cannot be domesticated as a pet and also, it is illegal to domesticate endangered species.

Did you know...

Do you know which species are considered the most intelligent cat among lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards? The answer is leopards, as leopards have better hunting and escaping skills than lions, tigers, and jaguars. In addition, leopards are known for their climbing ability. They often carry their prey up into trees to avoid losing it to their natural predators like lions and hyenas.

In Iran, the Persian leopard plays a prominent role in controlling agricultural pests like the Indian crested porcupine and wild boar.

Comparisons with similar animals

The Persian Leopard is indigenous to the Caucasus, while the African Leopard (with the scientific name Panthera pardus pardus) is native to many countries in Africa. Both animals are classified as endangered in IUCN red list. Like the Persian leopard, efforts are made to protect the African leopard population by breeding them in protected areas, including: Etosha National Park, Kruger National Park, Tai National Park, Virunga National Park.

Threats to the Persian leopard

The natural predators of leopards are lions and hyenas. However, primary reasons for the Persian leopard's endangered status are poaching, deforestation, disturbance caused by livestock breeding, and human-induced fires in the wild.

As part of conservation efforts, reintroduction projects are planned. For example, as part of the leopard breeding and reintroduction program, the Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre in Russia's Sochi National Park has received two leopards from Turkmenistan. Their offspring were released into the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve and Alaniya National Park.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including these panther facts and jaguar facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our persian leopard coloring pages.



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