A baby leopard comes into the world without any spots on its coat!
They are quite helpless when newborn, and look like a little fuzzy ball of dark grey fur.
They weigh only about one pound, and are about 5 or 6 inches long.
Their eyes and ears are shut, but they are vocal, making soft squeaking sounds, and their sense of smell is fairly strong, helping them stay close to mother.
The mother leopard is pregnant for 93 to 100 days, and when ready to give birth she will find a safe den and have a small litter of 1 to 3 cubs on average.
Leopards, particularly in Asia, regularly give birth to just one cub.
Because of this, and because of the leopards naturally seclusive lifestyle, survival rate is actually very good for young leopards compared to some other cats.
One of their most common enemies are snakes, who may find little cubs alone, waiting for their mother to return from a hunt.
Lions are a threat as well, and will kill young leopards for sport if given a chance.
The leopard mother, called a "leopardess", will have a number of nurseries set up throughout her territory.
Every 2 or 3 days, she will actually carry her tiny cubs to a new den to keep predators off the trail.
The leopard baby is called a cub, and by ten days old the cubs eyes are open and its fur is showing spots.
Like many cat species, the leopard babies eyes are usually a denim-colored blue, which will change to bright yellow or gold slowly over the next 2 or 3 months.
For the first 3 months of life they survive on just mothers milk, but start chewing on scraps she brings back to the den around the same time their eyes turn yellow.
At 4 months they are out and about with mom, who must teach them the skills of any great leopard.
They must learn to be quite and still before pouncing on their prey, and little leopards will practice stalking eachother, as well as twigs, stones and blowing leaves.
By the time they reach 18 months or so, they can hunt and kill small game like rabbits and jackals.
But it takes a full two years for youngsters to acquire all the knowledge they need to survive.
At 2 years old, the baby leopard is nearly 100 pounds of muscle and sinew, with all the skills needed to survive on their own.
They can take down animals much larger than themselves like 500 pound zebras, and are strong enough to carry their prey up a tree and cache it for later.
At this age they may be ready to move a few miles away to establish their own territory, but will occasionally visit their mother until she has a new litter.
Some young leopards will even stay with their mother up to 4 years before moving out.
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