Unusual sighting of male leopard mating with two females

Posted by Anita Froneman on 9 April 2021

The Sabi Sands, recognised as Africa’s highest density of leopard, every so often produces something absolutely extraordinary that few people, even regular travellers, ever get to experience.

Wildlife photographer Armand Grobler captured a very unusual sighting on film: One male leopard mating with two different females intermittently at the same time. Here is his recount of the occurrence:

Leopards (both male and female) are territorial mammals, keeping to the confinements of their territory and protecting it ferociously with their life, some battles resulting in serious injury or even death. So when we departed on our afternoon safari from Elephant Plains and our Ranger, Joshua Venter, mentioned a very unique sighting of one male leopard mating simultaneously with two separate females I could barely believe him.

I had heard of males mating with related female leopards (mother and daughter) thus a certain degree of tolerance is allowed, but never of two females irrelated to one another. Josh took us directly to the sighting, and to my surprise, there they were: all three adult leopards! The females kept a slight distance from each other, their deafening snarls and growls silencing the bush as they continue their dispute over opportunities to mate, however at times would come as close as 3m in a moment of extreme tension.

The male would mate with the one female, then rest for approximately 2 minutes before moving on to the other female and courting her, a continual cycle that lasted almost 3 hours! Despite the extreme rarity of the sighting, we were also amazed at his stamina, with leopards typically mating every 7 – 15 minutes during the early stages of courtship, yet this male mating several times with two females in the same time frame.

The next morning the leopards were located easily by their thunderous roars echoing throughout the bush, as they continued their incredible mating display. It was only that evening that we found the male alone with only one female, the other departing back to her territory satisfied. It was a sighting we would never forget, and probably never have the opportunity to see again.

Take a look:




Images and video by Peter Caley and Armand Grobler.

yoast-primary - 1004439
tcat - Nature And Conservation
tcat_slug - nature-and-conservation
tcat2 - Wildlife
tcat2_slug - wildlife
tcat_final -