The leopard is the ultimate cat. It makes the lion and the tiger appear overblown and all the other members of the cat family look puny. Whereas lions hunt in the open and then share their kill, the leopard is solitary, stealthy and selfish. This cat ambushes its prey and then carries it high into a tree where it can dine alone. The leopard has commanded respect and awe in mankind for centuries, and is called the 'perfect predator', capable of frustrating the most dedicated big game hunter. Leopards are known to attack humans, and Leopard contains some compelling images of this amazing animal in action.
In Leopard, renowned zoologist Desmond Morris shows all sides of the animal's character: its athletic elegance, its predatory skill, its wary shyness, its cunning intelligence, its parental devotion and its preference for solitary living, even its capacity to seek revenge. Morris traces the evolution of leopards, their role in circuses, and how we are now making strides in their conservation. He also describes their rich symbolism, and looks at the leopard print in fashion, both haute couture and downmarket, as well as the leopard in art, literature, film and popular culture.
Watch an introduction by Desmond Morris below:
Desmond Morris is a world-renowned zoologist and the author of many bestselling books on human and animal behaviour. He is a practising artist and contributed the acclaimed Owl, Monkey and Bison to Reaktion's Animal Series. He lives in Oxford, UK.