|“||Leopards usually aren't very nice.||”|
In the Real World
Leopards are graceful and long-bodied animals. Their coats come in shades of yellow, cream, and gold, with white underparts though at times can be all black due a mutation known as Melanism. The spots on their throat, chest, head, and lower limbs are small and solid, unlike the rosettes patterning the rest of their fur. Leopards have broad heads and rounded ears. Some leopards can have a completely black coat; those leopards are known as black panthers.
In The Lion Guard
Leopards in The Lion Guard are cream-colored animals with rosettes larger than those of real world leopards. They also lack spots in the areas that leopards have small, solid spots, with the exception of their head. Their rosettes are outlined in black and filled in with deep brown. Their tails are also striped and end with a large tuft.
In the Real World
Leopards are very stealthy and cunning big cats that hunt nocturnally and crepuscular. Leopards are the biggest (and only) large predators of the African jungles, which makes them the apex predators of such areas. On the savannas, however, they are usually dominated by lions and spotted hyenas, though large males have been observed hunting and killing the latter. Leopards are the smallest of the Panthera genus to which lions also belong to. Yet despite their small size, leopards are the most widespread of all the big cats. This is because leopards can adapt quite easily to different environments (Leopards have been found in jungles, grasslands, savannas, mountains and even urban areas) and are less picky in terms of diet compared to other big cats, as they feed on a variety of animals and bugs, including hartebeests, impalas, warthogs, jackals, and dung beetles. To avoid burnout while hunting, leopards often lie on a tree branch, wait for an animal to pass underneath, and then pounce on it. Once a large kill is made, a leopard will often store it in a tree, out of the reach of other predators.
Despite the lion's reputation as king of the jungle or king of beasts, this is only the case in Western culture. In Africa itself, the majority of the tribes actually thought of the leopard as the ultimate predator and king of the jungle. The ancient people of Benin had a ritual where the heir of the throne had to sacrifice a leopard to the gods. It symbolized that the future king of the people was blessed with the power and wisdom with now deceased king of the beasts. Wearing the fur of a leopard was considered standard in many rituals, as well as a sign of royalty, such as with the Zulus. Some tribes, such as the Mabadu, worshiped leopards to the extremes, and gave rise to the Anioto, more commonly known as the 'Leopard Men', a cult of cannibalistic assassins and religious extremists that took part in ceremonial sacrifices and much more.
In The Lion Guard
|“||Leopards are supposed to be fierce and fight for their turf.||”|
One leopard, Badili, has shown to be submissive and lacking the confrontational qualities that make up the other leopards in the universe. Even after gaining these traits, he has remained friendly towards others. Oddly enough, leopards are not native to the Pride Lands in the series, despite being native to Kenya in real life. This makes all the leopards in the series an invasive species. As animals aren't aware of how dangerous leopards are, proven by Makucha when he sneakily attacked a zebra and gazelle herd, though it was stated by Kion and Fuli many other animals wouldn't know about leopards if they aren't aware of its appearance. As leopards caused more problems over time, animals such as galagos became more aware that leopards were a threat. An example of this is when Badili unintentionally slept in Laini's Tree, much to the ire of Laini. Makucha is also an example, as he tried to attack many animals multiple times.
Leopards are solitary, as proven by Makucha, though he has gotten others to join him to defend his territory and could be more successful to hunt down prey. Leopards can steal other territories from their own kind and drive off the weaker leopard far from their original territory. Makucha, at one point, teamed up with three other leopards to take down the Lion Guard and split them up for defending their watering hole. His leap did this, presumably from the Guard and zebras entering their territory.
A leopard’s speed is nearly as fast as a cheetah, but compared to a cheetah, they can leap further and have better agility to zigzag. They are great jumpers, able to jump branch to branch to get away from their enemies. Leopards are even depicted as excellent climbers, such as when Makucha's Leap managed to scale a rock wall. In addition, they have great stealth, as shown when Mapigano creeps up on Badili to scare him. Leopards have a great sense of smell and can use it to track their target for miles. Their strength is greater than a cheetah and nearly strong enough to handle lions around Kion's age. Though they stronger then cheethas but unable to strike at them from their amazing speed.
Leopards do have great resilience and stamina by taking attacks from lions, hippo, Okapi and Zebra as they still able to get back to try to continue to fight or run off long distance.
The leopard Makucha tracks Ajabu the okapi from far away into the Pride Lands with the intention of eating him. Although he is seen sneaking up on other animals, Ajabu remains his ultimate goal, and he willingly turns down Thurston as a meal in favor of continuing his pursuit. The Lion Guard intervene and, although Makucha shows them that he is capable of taking them all on, he grows tired of their interference and leaves of his own accord.
Some galagos approach the Lion Guard, reporting a frightening leopard in their tree. The Guard goes to investigate, and finds Badili, who claims to be a friendly leopard. However, his claws and teeth prove intimidating to the galagos, and it decided that he must leave. He complies with great reluctance. When he reaches his territory, he scratches at a tree, but is soon approached by Mapigano, who bullies him out of his territory. The Guard confronts Badili on this, and he explains that leopards are supposed to be fierce creatures, and he was embarrassed not to be. The Guard decides to help him, and Badili is soon able to face Mapigano and drive him away.Dhahabu's Watering Hole. Refusing to let them pass through, Makucha attempts to fight them off, but is quickly beaten and tells them to pass through quickly before he retreats. Later, Makucha confronts the Guard and Dhahabu as they are about to demolish a dam located at his watering hole. He recruits three more leopards to challenge the Guard, all of whom are defeated. Makucha, however, corners Dhahabu, threatening to eat her. The Guard help raise Dhahabu's confidence in leadership, persuading her to face off Makucha as well as destroy the dam. Kion mockingly thanks Makucha for sharing, at which point the leopard storms off in humiliation. Makini and Kongwe speaking between themselves, Makucha makes his presence known, assuring them that they're always 'welcome'. Makini mistakes his words for friendly banter and goes to introduce herself, before he reveals his true intention which is to eat Kongwe. Fuli steps between the leopards and her two associates, warning him away. Makucha succumbs to her wishes, but warns her that she's in his territory. Makini marvels at Fuli's actions, but Kongwe appears disinterested and the group continue moving. Later, Makucha leaps out once again, Fuli stands between him and the other two animals. This time, she chases Makucha away, until he climbs up a tree. Fuli sinks her claws into the tree, but is unable to follow the leopard, or remove her claws. With Fuli trapped, Makucha approaches Kongwe, who hides in her shell. Makini appears behind her, using her broken staff as a nun-chucks. This fails to have an impact on him, batting her away. The distraction works, and Fuli tackles Makucha again. The leopard begins zig-zagging around, a technique which Fuli is unable to do herself. After chasing him off again, Kongwe tells Fuli that, in order to beat the leopard, she must observe the leopard. Fuli angrily exclaims that she has observed him, and Makini suggests using shwari to help. With both Kongwe and Makini's advice, Fuli realizes that Makucha always zigzags, and that there's no reason for her to mimic his actions. Fuli approaches a resting Makucha, and challenges him to another round. This time, she runs in a straight path, whilst Makucha zigzags as predicted. She pins him down, and orders him to leave. Feeling defeated, he leaves. Anga and is surprised to see her. During the fight, a dust storm comes and the guard starts to blow away. They soon find shelter but Makucha's Leap follows them. He says for them to leave but there's nowhere else to go. Kion says that they need to get along and stay in the spot. Makucha says that he wants them and he'll show them the way out, Kion agrees to go with Makucha. The guard leaves with Makucha's leap and later he saves Kion from a falling boulder. Makucha overhears Makini talking about the Tree of Life. He says he'll kidnap Makini and get her to tell him how to get to them there. Kion thinks that Makucha left but he didn't. He kidnaps Makini and Kion tries to save her. After Makucha loses, the Guard continues on their journey. He then says that he'll follow them to the Tree of Life.
Makucha talks to humiliated Chuluun and asks her to join him on his quest to the Tree of Life.
Makucha and Chuluun ran into Ora and let him be recruited into their team.
Makucha's Army are at the mountain pass following the Lion Guard's scent. They start to argue and Chuluun and Ora don't take orders from anyone. After making their way through the mountain pass they run into the Night Pride. After a battle with the Night Pride Makucha's Army goes back through the mountain pass. The next day Makucha's Army comes back again but gets defeated by the Night Pride. Chuluun's plan doesn't go well. Ora decides to take the lead. Ora orders the others to follow his plan but Makucha disobeys him and takes another path to the Tree of Life. Makucha fights Rani and Nirmala. iKon soon sneaks up and helps Rani attack Makucha. After three attacks, Mama Binturong arrives to assume command.
Later, she hatches a plan to have Makucha, Chuluun, and Ora infiltrate the Tree of Life at dawn when the Night Pride are tired and finishing their patrols. Mama would act as a decoy calling for help on the other side of the Tree of Life which would distract the teams while Makucha's army would attack Queen Janna unencumbered. The plan backfires when Ono notices her slip-ups, and Anga sees from a distance that she's in no danger. Mama tries to get revenge on Bunga, but he easily repels her and reveals her identity to the Night Pride. The Lion Guard and Night Pride force Makucha's army to leave once again.
Outside the mountain pass, Makucha's Army has cornered a family of tigers consisting of a mother and her cubs, barring them from entering the Tree of Life. Wanting to give her cubs a chance to escape, the mother tells them to go on without her before pouncing on Makucha. Mama Binturong orders Chuluun to go after the fleeing cubs as the tigress faces off against Makucha and Ora. The army gets defeated again.
Inside the mountain pass, Makucha's Army s once again confronted by the Night Pride. The Lion Guard soon comes to help themRani instructs the Lion Guard to handle Ora while the Night Pride fights the leopards, leaving Mama Binturong to Anga and Ono. Under Rani's command, the Army is beaten and kicked out of the pass. Outside, Mama Binturong tells the Army what she has learned, claiming they have the perfect opportunity to attack. Noting the Night Pride patrols at night while the Lion Guard does so at daytime, Mama proposes attacking at sunset, At sunset the Army spots the Guard coming and move to fight them as Kion quickly realizes their battle strategy. As both groups engage each other, a tired Beshte is bitten by Ora, leaving him paralyzed. Anga spots the Night Pride (save Rani) approaching, with Kion quickly giving them instructions to fight the Army.
Notable Leopards in The Lion Guard
- Much like the lions in the series, female leopards are recognizable by their lack of whiskers.
- In the show, some leopards have been shown with some tufts of fur under their chin, indicating they are adults. However, Mapigano is shown with less tufts, which could indicate he is a juvenile leopard.