New research suggests that female leopards, like most mothers, sacrifice a good meal for whatever provides a quick feed so they can tend to their young. A team from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research recently assessed the diets of leopards in Namibia by studying the stable isotopes present in whisker samples and matching their compositions to different prey species. Pretty remarkable methods! By doing so, they’ve revealed that female leopards prey on a significantly greater diversity of animals than males do. Why? Perhaps males are picky and females have more adventurous taste buds, but more likely it’s to do with territory sizes and cub rearing. Males generally have much larger territories and so have the ability to be selective in what they feed on. A female’s hunting range is not only smaller, but it shrinks when they have cubs and they have to make do with what they find nearby.
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