Difference between Lion and Leopard

Key Difference: Lion and Leopard both are from the same family and genus. The basic difference between both the big cats is their scientific name and appearance. Lion Lion belongs to Panthera leo, and they like to live in group called ‘prides’, whereas Leopards belong to Panthera pardus, and they never like to live in group because they are solitary animals.

The lion’s scientific name is Panthera leo, and he mainly belongs to the Felidae or cat family. Their primary habitats are in Africa, with a few still living in the Gir Forest of India. Unlike most cats, lions are excellent swimmers and are the only members of the cat family with manes, though only the male lions have manes. Lions are carnivores, i.e. meat eaters; they hunt animals from ranging in size from small hares to large buffalo.

Lions live in grasslands and plains. Their tawny-colored coats act as camouflage. They are not jungle dwellers. Generally, the darker the lion's mane, the older he is. Cubs are born in litters of one to six, with two to four being the average number. Their average weight at birth is two to four pounds (one to two kilograms).

Leopards are small but powerful big cats. They are from the Felidae family. They are often confused with two other spotted cats, cheetahs and jaguars, but the fact is the patterns of spots in each species are different. A leopard and lion can roar. The primary difference between both the animals is that leopard has black marks in his body, while lion’s body is completely of fur. Lion are known as giant animals, and are also called ‘the king of animals’. Both are the big cats with similar genes, i.e. Panthera.

Leopards are physically powerful swimmers and very much at home in the water, where they sometimes eat fish or crabs. Lion's head is big, while leopard's head is small.

Comparison between Lion and Leopard:







Scientific Name

Panthera Leo

Panthera Pardus
















Main difference

Family animal

Solitary animal


58 kilometers per hour

58 kilometers per hour


Africa and parts of Middle East.

Africa and tropical Asia, from Siberia, South and West Asia to across most of sub-Saharan Africa.


Lion is a huge and largest one of all the big cats.

Leopard is the smallest one of all the big cats.


Lion tends to vary in size from 5 ft to 8 ft in males and 4 ft to 5 ft in females

Leopard varies from 4.25 to 6.25 ft, and Tail, 3.5 to 4.5 ft


Weight can go up to 250 kg

30 to 80 kg; can go up to 100kg.


Lions never swim.

Leopards are very strong swimmers.


Female lions hunt for their family at night. They also sometimes hunt in the daytime, but the most female prefer to hunt in night to make it difficult for the prey.

Leopards will often drag their meal up a tree to eat in seclusion. They will eat anything from beetles to antelope, depending on their habitat.


Lions usually live in groups of 15 or more animals called prides.

Leopards do not live in prides.


They are adjustable with any food sources that are from medium or large. Most noticeable are hippopotamus, elephant, rhinosauras, zebra, etc.

They kill their prey by a suffocating bite. They too would rather stalk than chase their prey.




Image Courtesy: animal-backgrounds.com, maniadasviagens.pt

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