Can leopards be black?

Yes, leopards can be black. Many wild cat species can also be black or what is called "melanistic" - see melanism for an article on this. Melanistic leopards will have faint markings. They are not jet black. They can be referred to as "black panthers". Black leopards are rare in Africa but "not uncommon" in southern India. They are common in Java and Malaysia, where about 50% of the leopards are black.

In Africa there are black leopards in the Aberdare Mountains of Kenya (just north of Nairobi, Aberdare National Park). This is the place where you will also see many black servals. You will also see black leopards in the Ethiopian highlands the Congo, South Africa and the Ruwenzoris.


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