These cats have an elongate and muscular body, broad paws, and short ears. In tropical regions their coats tend to be shorter and sleeker; in colder climates their fur is longer and denser. The coloration varies from the color of straw to grayish to even chesnut. The backs of the ears are black except for a spot either located centrally or near the tips. These appear to other animals as eyes. The throat, chest, belly, and the insides of the limbs are white. The rest of the head, throat, chest and limbs all have small black spots. The belly has larger black spots. Region and habitat have an affect on the appearance of P. pardus. In Africa, leopards living in hilly areas tend to be larger than those living in lowlands. There is a tendency to melanism (black coloration) more frequently in densely forested areas where being darker is probably beneficial in remaining unseen as compared to open areas. They have been recorded as long as 2.92 m but 1.37-1.67 is more common (Guggisberg 1975; Nowak 1997).