If your child is inquisitive about big cats, here are some fun facts about panthers to grab their attention.
The term 'panther' refers to any of the three different types of big cats - leopards (Panthera pardus), jaguars (Panthera onca), and cougars (Puma concolor) and is not a species in itself. The black panther is a dark-colored variant of leopards and jaguars and likewise, the white panther is a very pale or white variant of the jaguars and leopards. The leopards have nine subspecies and the cougar, or mountain lion, has a sub-species known as the Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi).
Distributed across a wide range of habitats in the Americas, Africa, and Asia, panthers are one of the most powerful animals of the big cat family. Panthers, including black panthers, leopards, cougars, and jaguars have remarkable eyesight and hearing, which makes them extremely skilled and successful predators in the wild.
Read on for more interesting facts about panthers in general as well as facts about black panthers!
Tropical and deciduous forests, swamps, savannahs, grasslands, mountains, scrublands, deserts
Asia, Africa, North America, South America
Panthera pardus, Panthera onca, Puma concolor
Panther Interesting Facts
What type of animal are Panthers?
Panthers are carnivorous animals of the cat family (Felidae).
What class of animal do Panthers belong to?
Panthers belong to the class Mammalia, that is, they are mammals.
How many Panthers are there in the world?
There is no exact data available regarding the number of panthers in the world. However, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the number of mature individuals of leopards, jaguars, and cougars is continually decreasing.
Where do Panthers live?
Where panthers live differs according to the type of panther. Panthers inhabit a wide variety of terrains and depending on whether they are jaguars, leopards, or cougars. Panthers can be found in tropical and deciduous forests, coastal forests, thickets, swamps, savannahs, grasslands, mountains, scrublands, and even deserts.
What is a Panther's habitat?
The jaguars are primarily concentrated in the Amazon Basin with reduced populations in the United States. Being excellent swimmers, they inhabit moist tropical forests and swamps with a nearby waterbody and are hardly ever found in the montane forests at higher elevations.
The leopards (Panthera pardus) have nine subspecies with distributions across Africa, Arabia, Central Asia, Java, Sri Lanka, India, China, Russia, and the Korean peninsula. The leopard favors trees and is mostly found in forests, grasslands, scrublands, mountains, and even deserts.
The mountain lions or cougars are found in specific regions of North America with habitats that include coniferous and tropical forests, grasslands, and swamps. The Florida panther is a subspecies of the cougar found in heavily vegetated areas like hammock forests and swamp forests. Their habitat is restricted to certain regions of southern Florida.
Black jaguars (black panthers) are found in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Paraguay while black leopards are distributed across Sri Lanka, Java, the Malay peninsula, Kenya, and India.
Who do Panthers live with?
Panthers are solitary animals that hunt and live by themselves. Only mating pairs or a female and her cubs are seen together.
How long do Panthers live?
Jaguars and leopards have a lifespan of 11 to 12 years in the wild and cougars may live for up to 18 to 20 years in the wild.
How do they reproduce?
Panthers are polygamous, that is, a panther has more than one mating partner. However, mating pairs stick around with each other, hunting and sleeping together for up to a week. These big cats are induced ovulators; this means that the ovary releases the egg only upon stimulation via copulation. In fact, induced ovulation is a unique adaption in solitary big cats to increase the chances of fertilization of the egg. Like most animals, the male panther will try to prevent other males in its area from mating with the female but may not always be successful in the competition. A female panther usually announces her mating availability through specific sounds or by the scent of her urine. The gestation period varies between 92 to 96 days which is followed by a litter of one to four offspring.
What is their conservation status?
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the jaguar is 'Near Threatened,' the leopard is 'Vulnerable,' and the cougar is of 'Least Concern.' Regardless of the conservation status of these large animals, populations of their species are rapidly declining in the wild.
Panther Fun Facts
What do Panthers look like?
Jaguars are large cats found in North and South America and have a sturdy build with prominent cheeks and powerful jaws. Their body is made of fur and the coat color varies from reddish-brown to pale yellow with black rosette-shaped spots on the body, neck, and limbs. The black jaguars (black panthers) are entirely black and their spots are hardly visible against the dark coat color.
The color pattern and body size of leopards vary with the habitat and ranges from a light yellow coat color in warm and dry habitats to a reddish-orange coat in dense forests. They have rings on their tail and the spots on the face, chest, and feet are solid black. Black leopards (black panthers) have totally black fur.
The cougars are large and slender with no spots on their body. The fur is short and coarse with colors varying from grayish brown or yellowish-brown on the upper body to an almost buff-colored belly. The chest and neck are whitish with a black-tipped tail.
How cute are they?
A panther is incredibly cute, they share common features with domestic house cats, so how can they be anything other than really cute?
How do they communicate?
A panther primarily communicates through snarls, purrs, growls, hisses, and yowls. A female panther may also attract its mating partner by the scent of its urine.
How big are Panthers?
Leopards have an average body length of 5.25 - 7.55 ft (1.6 - 2.3m), jaguars range between 4.92 - 6.07 ft (1.5 - 1.85m), and cougars have a body length range of 33.86 - 60.63 in (0.86 - 1.54m). Leopards and jaguars can be almost as big as a tiger.
How fast can Panthers run?
A leopard can run at a speed of about 36 mph (58 kph) and a jaguar has a speed of about 49.7 mph (80 kph).
How much do Panthers weigh?
A leopard weighs between 37.44 - 143.17 lb (17 - 65 kg), jaguars have an average mass of 220.26 lb (100 kg), and cougars weigh between 63.88 lb - 264.32 lb (29 - 120 kg).
What are their male and female names of the species?
A male panther has no distinct name but a female panther may be called a she-panther.
What would you call a baby Panther?
A baby panther is called a 'cub.'
What do they eat?
Panthers are carnivorous animals and prey on herbivores like deer, moose, elk, rabbits, livestock, and even birds.
Are they dangerous?
No doubt, any panther is a dangerous animal.
Would they make a good pet?
A panther is a wild animal not really suited to be a pet.
Did you know...
Black panthers have black fur due to a rare mutation called melanism. On the other hand, white panthers have white fur due to a mutation called albinism where the fur turns pale or completely white. Hence, panthers with white fur find it pretty hard to camouflage while hunting.
A cougar's milk has about six times more fat than cow's milk.
Different types of Panther
Panthers are mainly of three types - leopard, cougar, and jaguar. The Florida panther is a subspecies of the cougar.
What are Panthers known for?
Panthers are known for their remarkable climbing and swimming abilities.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the snow leopard and the caracal.
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