Cheetahs are commonly misidentified as leopards, and vice versa, since both big cats have prominent yet similar dark spots on their bodies. But it can get easier to distinguish between a cheetah and a leopard once you know what to look for. Cheetahs boast a pair of dark-coloured curved lines running between their nose and cheeks, while leopards don’t have any unique face markings. The spots on their bodies also differ: the cheetah’s fur is covered with round or oval-shaped spots, whereas the leopard has distinctive spots on its fur called ‘rosettes’, resembling the shape of a rose.
A cheetah is slender, lighter and taller than a leopard, and it also has semi-retractable claws, allowing for swift movements when chasing prey at high speeds. Leopards, on the other hand, are shorter but bulky and powerful big cats with retractable claws, making them excellent tree climbers. Vocally, cheetahs chirp almost like a bird, while leopards roar like other big cats.