There is a feeling of love in the air: In the last month we were happy to see quite a few mating leopard pairs in Yala. Usually being solitary animals, during the mating season male and female meet and start roaming around together.
Which leopards do mate?
A young leopardess is able to mate for the first time by the age of 2 years. An older leopardess who had cubs before is able to mate again once her cubs reach maturity at the age of 2 years and leave the mother to find their own territory, or if all her cubs die. If a male leopard sees leopard cubs that are not his, he would therefore try to kill them so the mother is ‘free’ to receive his offspring. A male leopard can have up to 5 female leopards within his home range and would mate with all of them.
The mating process:
The leopardess in heat would often try to ‘seduce’ the male leopard by passing him and cheekily petting him with her tail, turning her backside towards him, or rolling playfully on the ground in front of him.
The mating as such is shortly (often it takes only a couple of seconds), but very frequently. Leopards would mate several times an hour. The mating period lasts for approx. one week in which the couple stays together and does everything together: hunting, eating, resting, and of course mating.