May 08, 2019

How come leopards are so fast?

LPRD is fast like a leopard

If there’s one thing most people know about the mighty leopard, it’s that they’re mighty fast. Anyone who’s ever seen a leopard run full speed will stand in awe. It’s truly a remarkable sight how this elegant predator seems to effortlessly speed up and catch its prey.

The leopards’ speed compared to other animals

The average top speed of a leopard is 35 miles ( 56 kilometers) per hour. If a leopard is particularly hungry, they can go even faster and even reach up to 40 miles ( 64 kilometers) per hour. Talk about a need for speed! The highest speed a human has ever reached was Usain Bolt, running 27 miles (43 kilometers) per hour. So the leopard has nothing on us! However, there are some animals that are even faster than our friend the leopard. Take his distant relative, the cheetah, for example. Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals and can reach speeds of a whopping 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour. The all-time champion of speed, however, is the peregrine falcon which can reach a velocity of 242 miles (389 kilometers) per hour! But hey, they can fly, so it’s not really a fair comparison.

The reason they’re so fast

A lot of the leopards’ speed has to do with its build. Leopards have relatively long legs. This helps them reach great velocity. Part of the leopards’ speed secret also is due to the way they move. Leopards don’t take small steps. No, instead they make long leaps while running. This is made possible because of their long, slender legs. The leopards rear legs are long and exceptionally muscular, which provides them with a major thrust to make really big, powerful leaps again and again. Their muscular hind legs allow them to make a leap of 20 feet in a single bound. Also, leopards have arched backs, which helps them reach their impressive speeds.  

It’s not just speed, it’s how you use it

So we’ve learned that leopards are like the Usain Bolts of the Serengeti. But that’s not the only impressive feature of this gorgeous animal. They’re not only fast, but they’re also smart. Leopards have an exceptional talent to move without making a sound. Although they can reach high speeds, they can also be very slow if they want to. Placing one foot thoughtfully in front of the other as to not make a single noise. The thick pads under their feet act as silencers. That’s why their prey doesn’t hear them coming, making the leopard a real silent killer!