The leopard is smallest of the four big cats in the feline family. It is characterized by its spots, relatively short legs and large skull. They are often mistaken for other spotted cats, but the leopard's "spots" are actually rosettes, more intricate than a cheetah's but without an inner spot that jaguars have. Although the leopard was originally thought to be a hybrid of a lion and a panther, it was later found to be untrue.The leopard will eat virtually any animal it can hunt down and catch. Although it once roamed a larger region that included Korea and South Africa, the leopard now mostly inhabits sub-Sahara Africa.
The strength and power of the African leopard represents the masculine qualities of the hunter. It also symbolizes social order and stability. Wearing the leopard skin was traditionally reserved for royalty and symbolized power and wealth. In some regions, the leopard was a powerful totem animal, most infamously with a cult that believed that by eating the flesh and blood of their victims they could be transformed into leopards. These 'leopard men' terrorized villages with ritual killings using a metal-pronged weapon that simulated the leopard's slashing, gashing and mauling.
Leopard tattoo designs make a strong masculine statement, one that symbolizes strength, speed, courage and endurance.