June 17, 2024

Can you guess the difference between a leopard and a cheetah? Well, aside from them both being rather elusive –  and reclusive – animals, it’s a bit difficult.  That is until you finally chance upon one – or even two, if you’re me and you’re lucky today.  The cheetah – above – is the fastest land animal on the planet, having been clocked at a cool 75MPH in full gallop. The only big cat with non-retractable claws, it cannot grip or climb, which is why the need for speed evolved to be paramount. Yet it’s defining characteristics are spots, which are true spots and not the rosettes which are the hallmark of the leopard – even though a leopard is commonly referred to as spotted, which it is not. The stealthy leopard can’t run half as fast but it can gracefully climb the heck out of a tree – and walk back down head first, too. Despite being the smallest of the big cats, it can also drag a kill up a branch and hang it there. You don’t want to mess with either of these cats, yet there’s a thrill that comes from watching one in all its feline glory. Plus all those spots are transfixing, if not downright hypnotic.


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