This is a melanistic leopard. Close examination of these black cats will show that the typical leopard markings are still there but are hidden by the excess black pigment melanin. The spotted pattern of the black leopard has the effect of printed silk when viewed from the proper angle. Skin color is a mixture of blue black gray and purple with rosettes. Melanistic and non-melanistic individuals can be found in the same litter.
Black leopards are reported from most densely-forested areas in southwestern China, Myanmar, Assam and Nepal, from Travancore and other parts of southern India and are said to be common in Java and the southern part of the Malay Peninsula where they may be more numerous than spotted leopards. They are less common in tropical Africa, but have been reported from Ethiopia, from the forests of Mount Kenya and from the Aberdares.
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