Leopard mating games captured by trail camera for the first time

Leopard mating games captured by trail camera for the first time

17 July 2017

For the first time in the history of observations, researchers have managed to see the mating games of the spotted predators in the wild. A camera trap in the northern part of Land of the Leopard National Park provided scientists with unique images.


The images were taken in early spring, but were only received during a routine trail camera inspection in the summer. The photos feature the mating games of unnamed leopard, Leo 64M, and an unknown leopardess; it was impossible to identify her by her spot pattern.


Researchers know that Leo 64M is about three years old – leopards reach maturity at this age – and that he is the son of Grace the leopardess (Leo 23F).


“The behavior of females changes during the mating season: they leave markings more often, call on the males and show playful behavior when they encounter a male. Males, in turn, hear these calls and come looking for the female,” said Yekaterina Blidchenko, research fellow at Land of the Leopard and a zoologist at the Tiger Centre.


Usually, leopards are engaged in mating rituals for about five days, and then they leave each other. A leopard’s gestation period lasts 90 days; there are from one to three cubs in each litter. The leopardess raises her cubs alone. Before giving birth, she will find a cozy den, protected form the wind, rain and potential enemies.