Leopard Predation on Flying Squirrel

Goutham Shankar

Goutham Shankar
Leopard with flying squirrel

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

With their lithe bodies, superb camouflage and supreme agility, leopards are the ultimate predators, able to subdue a wide variety of prey on the ground or in the trees.

While on a drive in Kabini, Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka, we heard langur alarm calls from a distance. As we approached closer, the calls became stronger. Out of nowhere, this leopard showed up with a kill. The leopard was watching us as it made its way from one end of the road to the other before disappearing into the woods.

All of us were left guessing what the kill could have been. Initially we thought it was a langur, but it wasn’t. After talking to a few people, we were able to identify the prey as a flying squirrel. Thanks to Rana Belur and Divya Mudappa for helping with the identification.

Being opportunistic predators, leopards are known to have a very broad diet that goes with their exceptional adaptability. They are known to hunt arboreal prey like langurs, and there have been accounts of leopards in pursuit of Indian Giant Squirrels as well. This is a rare natural history moment caught on camera, with the leopard having caught a flying squirrel, a nocturnal creature usually lying in the safety of a nest cavity until dusk.

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About the author

Goutham Shankar
Goutham Shankar is a Bangalore-based photographer and entrepreneur.


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