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The fur of a leopard is typically thick and soft, with the belly being noticeably softer than the back.
Skin tones range from pale yellowish to dark golden, with dark spots arranged in rosettes, depending on the individual. It has a pale belly and a ringed tail that is shorter than its body. It has circular pupils.

Leopards are pale cream, yellowish to ochraceous, and rufous in color in arid regions; Forests and mountains are home to people who are much darker and more golden. The white underbelly, the inside of the legs, and the lower part of the legs are where the spots fade.

The rosettes of East African leopard populations are circular, while those of Southern African populations tend to be square and those of Asian populations are larger. In colder climates, the fur is typically grayish, while in rain forest habitats, it is dark golden.

This pattern is thought to be an adaptation to dense vegetation with patchy shadows, where it serves as camouflage, and is unique to each individual.[20][21]
In the face and head, the guard hairs that cover the basal hairs are short, 3–4 mm (0.1–0.2 in), and they get longer toward the flanks and belly to about 25–30 mm (1.0–1.2 in). Due to the densely arranged spots, juveniles appear to be dark-colored and have woolly fur.