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How to Own a Pet Leopard

| Updated November 01, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Shelter

  • Veterinarian


  • Find a veterinarian who is qualified and willing to take on your leopard as a patient. Many veterinary hospitals only take on dogs and domesticated housecats as clients. Remember to have a backup veterinarian (i.e. another veterinarian in the same practice who fills in for your primary veterinarian, should he be away or unable to tend to your leopard). If you let your leopard inside your home, build a safe, secure passageway from the shelter outside into the home. Have ways to contain your leopard inside your home so it does not disturb unsuspecting guests.


  • Build the shelter that gives you access to all areas for cleaning. Having a way to separate yourself from your leopard while you are cleaning may be helpful in doing this safely and properly. Have a plan for other qualified persons to take care of your leopard should you be away from home. You will not be able to drop your leopard off at the kennel while you are away on business, and most pet sitters will not feel comfortable with such an exotic animal. Almost all exotic animals require permits and licensing from the United States Department of Agriculture. Be sure to obtain this information before proceeding.

How to Own a Pet Leopard. Few people own big cats like a leopard, but with the right knowledge and equipment, owning a leopard can be successful. Owning a leopard can also be a rewarding experience, as long as the animal is handled and cared for properly.

Prepare to Own a Leopard

Make sure you can legally own a pet leopard. Currently, 19 out of 50 states have a ban on exotic animals as pets, including the leopard. If your state does not have a ban, you will need to check with the town for regulations.

Check local laws once you know you can own a pet leopard in your state. A call to city or county hall will help you understand the laws regarding your area. If you can own a leopard in your town, the next telephone call should be to the zoning office to be sure you are zoned for owning such an exotic animal as a pet.

Educate yourself and your family on the ins and outs of owning a pet leopard. Learn the basic information such as height, weight, feeding habits, shelter requirements and reproductive/mating rituals (if you have more than one). Find out how leopards act in captivity and talk to other people who currently own a leopard as a pet. They will be able to give you information about owning a leopard.

Commit yourself to owning your leopard for his entire life. On average, leopards live 22 years in captivity. It is important to understand you cannot drop your leopard off at the local zoo or animal shelter if you no longer want to keep the leopard.

Build the necessary shelter and keep it clean and stimulating once you bring your leopard home. Provide new toys, logs, trees and other vegetation to keep the environment interesting. Be sure there are things to climb and water to bathe in, as leopards enjoy both activities.

Understand the pair bond in certain breeds--some leopards, such as the clouded leopard, prefer to be in pairs. For breeding purposes, most captive leopards are paired with a member of the opposite sex. To promote breeding, baby leopards are introduced when they are young, as they must be "in love" to reproduce with one another.