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190 × 135 × 13 mm
184 pages
109 illustrations, 91 in colour
01 Jun 2014

Leopard Desmond Morris

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 the book 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.

Leopard is every bit as attractive and informative as previous volumes in the Animal series . . . This small volume contains a lot of information, ranging from the shocking to the recherché and quirky.’ — African Research and Documentation

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Desmond Morris is a world-renowned zoologist and television presenter, and the author of many best-selling books on human and animal behaviour, including Cats in Art (Reaktion, 2017). He has also written four books in Reaktion’s Animal series.


1. Ancient Leopards

2. Tribal Leopards

3. Leopard Cults

4. Leopard Hunting

5. Leopard Attacks

6. Symbolic Leopards

7. Decorative Leopards

8. Leopards in Art

9. Circus Leopards

10. Tame Leopards

11. Wild Leopards

12. Leopard Conservation


Appendix 1: Classification

Appendix 2: Other Leopards

Appendix 3: Filmography


Select Bibliography

Associations and Websites

Photo Acknowledgements