Spot the Difference — Is It a Leopard, Jaguar, or Cheetah?

A leopard by any other name would still look as sweet . . . but it wouldn't technically be a leopard. You see, even though some people call out these big cat species interchangeably, there is actually quite a difference among their spots. Take a look below at photos of each and get to know them better!


Flickr user macjewell

Scientific name: Panthera pardus
These cats have a pattern that looks flower like — called rosettes — in large numbers with a slightly different color inside.


Flickr user tambako

Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus
No rosettes here, the Cheetahs have solid, evenly distributed spots.


Flickr user tambako

Scientific name: Panthera onca
Jaguars' markings also include rosetted dots but they sometimes have spots in the center as well as a darker, thicker outline. Typically, there are larger rosettes in smaller numbers on this species.