A video of a leopard smelling scent markings of another leopard. Ranger Rul took this video of a leopard we call Miss van Wyk during a wildlife safari drive on the 16th of April 2016. Leopards seem to have a fascination for fallen trees or logs and cannot resist the temptation to leave their scent mark whenever they walk past said objects, especially when the horizontal part of the stem are situated at eye level or just above. A lot of time will also be spent smelling the tree in order to find out who have been visiting and how long ago, as can be seen from this footage.
Leopards are solitary animals, but communication with one another is still necessary in order to advertise territory and try and avoid unnecessary conflict and also to find each other quickly and easily when a female goes into estrous. The best way to do this is chemically through scent marking which can last for weeks. Leopards would spend a large part of their time patrolling and marking, showing that scent marking plays a vital and important role in their lives. Urine are sprayed horizontally and upwards in order to be easily detected. They would also reach up to fallen logs and branches often standing on their hind legs to rub their heads and cheeks onto leaves and bark, spreading their scent with an oily substance that coats their hair and skin and is secreted from what we call sebaceous glands. It is believed that by reaching as high as possible they would try and impress or intimidate by amplifying their size.
Leopards also have interdigital glands on their paws and they would leave their scent by reaching up to scratch trees with their claws at just above eye level or by raking the ground with their hind claws.
It is a huge advantage during wildlife photography to know the habits of animals as it helps to anticipate interesting behavior. Next time be ready when a leopard veers off course in the direction of a fallen tree as she might be going to delight you with some excellent photographic opportunities as she reaches up to grab a log with her front paws while rubbing her head.