A-z - Animals

Leopard

black panther facts

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key point

  • Panthers also have spots. However, it is rather difficult to detect them due to the dark background of the black or brown fur.
  • They are becoming increasingly rare in the wild due to deforestation.
  • Their dark fur makes them almost invisible under cover of night.
Panther-1

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Classification

Panthers (also commonly called panthers) are large members of the big cat family native to Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Leopard itself is not a distinct species, but is an umbrella term used to refer to any black cat in the big cat family, most notably leopards and jaguars. The panther is an elusive and powerful animal that has adapted well to a variety of habitats around the world and is considered one of the strongest climbers of all cats. While panthers are not technically classified as a separate species, many consider leopards and jaguars to be endangered due to declining populations across most of their natural ranges.

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type

anatomy and appearance

Types of Jaguar - Panther
A panther may be a leopard, jaguar, or more rarely a cougar

©AB Photographie/Shutterstock.com

The leopard tends to be dark brown to black in color and is otherwise identical to the cat family to which it belongs. The only real exception is the Florida panther, found in the southeastern United States, which is considered a subspecies of the puma and is rarely dark brown and often has a more spotted appearance. Like leopards and jaguars, panthers have spots. Although they are so dark, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see them against the shiny dark fur. Black panthers are animals with small heads, strong jaws, and green eyes, and their hind legs tend to be larger and slightly longer than their front legs. A member of the big cat family, the panther is not only one of the largest cats in the world, but it can also roar in a way that no other cat outside the group can do.

evolution

black panther
South American panthers may be closely related to lions

©iStock.com/Aniket Manet

In terms of evolution, the panther's story shares some parallels with the cougar's. They include an ancestor who crossed the Bering Strait into North America. In the case of panthers, this ancestor is thought to be Panthera gombaszoegensis , the earliest member of the cat family that existed in Europe about 2 million years ago.



As for the Pantherinae , scientists aren't sure when it split from the cat family, but records show that event occurred no later than about 12 million years ago. Experts also believe that the big cats currently living in the Americas are actually descendants of jaguars that lived in the northern regions of South America 300,000 to 500,000 years ago. This is another parallel in the puma's own evolutionary history, as its North American population is also supplemented by that of South America.

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So are current panthers closely related to other members of the Panthera genus? Scientists are also divided on this, with some suggesting that the jaguar was more closely related to the lion ( Panthera leo ), while others believe the leopard ( Panthera pardus ) was its closest living relative.
As for the leopard, its evolutionary history began 4.37 million years ago when it emerged from Panthera .

Distribution and Habitat

panther waiting
Panthers live in a variety of habitats including tropical forests, deserts and swamps

© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

Panthers are animals native to three continents of the world, and their location depends on whether it is a panther or a black jaguar. Thirty different leopard subspecies are found in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The natural distribution range of the jaguar once spread throughout Central and South America, and even extended to parts of the United States. The leopard has become a highly adaptable species. Animals that exist in a variety of different habitats. While they are most commonly found in tropical and deciduous forests, panthers can also be found in swamps and swamps, grasslands, and harsher areas such as deserts and mountains. Like many of the world's largest cats, panthers are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, largely due to habitat loss due to deforestation.

Behavior and Lifestyle

animals in movies
Panthers are skilled climbers and often rest on tree branches or observe their prey

© sergeyle le/Shutterstock.com

The leopard is a very intelligent and agile animal that is rarely seen in the wild because it is usually elusive. Its dark brown fur camouflages the panther from the surrounding forest and makes it nearly invisible in the dark of night. Panthers are solitary animals that lead a nocturnal life, spending most of the day resting safely in trees. Like leopards and jaguars, panthers are incredible climbers who not only rest in trees but are also able to keep an eye on their prey without being detected. The panther is a very powerful and fearless animal that is feared by many people as it is also very aggressive. Panthers are also very territorial, especially since the range of males overlaps with that of many females.

You can check out unbelievable facts about black panthers.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Leopard
Panther cubs were cared for by their mother for 2 years

© Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

Although there are only two different species of big cats known to be panthers, leopards and jaguars are actually very closely related despite living in different parts of the world. Panthers and jaguars usually appear in the same litter with spotted cubs, and the female usually gives birth to 2 to 4 cubs after a gestation period of about 3 months (this is a simple recessive gene that makes the cubs black , while carrying both parents of pups). Black panther cubs are born blind and don't open their eyes until they are nearly two weeks old. They are very vulnerable to predators, especially when their mother is away and they have to find food for them. By a few months old, panther cubs begin to accompany her in hunting for prey, and usually do not leave her until they are nearly 2 years old and have established territories for themselves.

diet and prey

Animals Endemic to North America: Pronghorn
Panthers often hunt antelope, as well as other medium to large carnivores

©BGSmith/Shutterstock.com

The panther is a carnivorous animal, one of the most feared and powerful predators in its natural environment. Hunting under the cover of night, the panther's dark fur is nearly impossible to spot, meaning it can move through the jungle completely unseen. While most of their hunting is actually on the ground, they are also known to hunt in trees, meaning they can ambush their prey from above. The exact diet of a panther depends on where in the world it lives, although medium to large herbivores make up the majority of the diet of many big cats. Animals including deer, warthogs, wild boars, tapirs and antelope are hunted by panthers, as are smaller species such as birds and rabbits when large game is scarce.

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Predators and Threats

lion bared teeth
Lions occasionally hunt panthers in Africa or Asia

©Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com

The jaguar is the largest cat species in the Americas, so the New World panther is the most dominant predator in its environment. However, panthers found in Africa and Asia are occasionally preyed upon by other large predators such as lions and hyenas, but the most common predator and greatest threat to all panthers is humans. Not only are these rare animals hunted by them throughout much of their natural range, but they also suffer from dramatic habitat loss, especially in the form of deforestation for growing human settlements and to make way for agriculture. Big cat populations are declining around the world, being squeezed into smaller and smaller native habitats, and black panthers are becoming rarer than ever.

Interesting Facts and Features

Balkan lynx close-up

©Panagiotis Komninelis/Shutterstock.com

Although technically only panthers and jaguars are generally scientifically recognized as the only true panthers, the term is also used by locals to describe many other dark-haired cats in their native habitat, including cougars , tiger, cougar, lynx and lynx. The panther is considered one of the smartest and fiercest predators in the United States, so the image of the panther is widely used as a logo or mascot for sports teams. Some panthers can actually swim, but not those leopards because jaguars are known to have a real love of water. Not only do these people love flooded forests, but they will spend a lot of time swimming, playing and hunting in the cool water.

relationship with humans

The world's big cats have been hunted for trophy and fur, especially over the past few centuries. This has caused populations of leopards and jaguars to decline so much that they have practically disappeared completely from some parts of their historical ranges. Panthers have also suffered severe habitat degradation across much of Asia, Africa and the Americas, meaning these elusive predators are now even rarer. They are rarely seen, and they are only really aware of the presence of panthers through their footprints on the ground and scratches in trees. In fact, they're so cunning that black panthers are often referred to as "spooks of the forest."

Protect the status quo and life today

While the leopard itself is not scientifically recognized as a species, both leopards and jaguars are becoming increasingly vulnerable across most of their natural range and are listed as threatened by the IUCN. However, because two gene-carrying individuals must mate to produce panthers, and the likelihood of this is decreasing as habitat is lost, many wildlife experts consider the animals to be endangered worldwide.

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Panther FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are panthers herbivores, carnivores or omnivores?

Panthers are carnivores, which means they eat other animals.

To which kingdom does the black panther belong?

Panthers belong to the animal kingdom.

What door does the panther belong to?

Panthers belong to the phylum Chordate.

Which category does the black panther belong to?

Panthers belong to the class Mammalia.

What family do black panthers belong to?

Panthers belong to the cat family.

What order does Black Panther belong to?

Panthers belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus does the panther belong to?

Panthers belong to the genus Panthera.

What type of mulch do Panthers have?

Panthers are covered with fur.

Where does the panther live?

Panthers live in Asia, Africa and America.

What type of habitat do panthers live in?

Panthers live in forests, swamps and grasslands.

Who are the natural enemies of the panther?

Predators of panthers include humans, lions and hyenas.

What is the average litter size for a panther?

The average litter size for panthers is 3.

Any fun facts about the Black Panthers?

Panthers prefer to hunt at night rather than during the day!

What is the scientific name of the black panther?

The scientific name of the panther is Panthera pardus, Panthera onca.

What is the lifespan of a black panther?

Panthers can live 12 to 15 years.

What is the name of the little leopard?

Young leopards are called cubs.

How many kinds of leopards are there?

There are 31 species of leopards.

What is the biggest threat to the Panthers?

The biggest threat to panthers is habitat loss.

What is another name for Black Panther?

Panthers are also known as black panthers, black panthers or black jaguars.

How many black panthers are left in the world?

The population size of the panther is unknown.

How fast is a leopard?

The Panther can travel at 71 miles per hour.

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source
  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animals, The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) Encyclopedia of World Animals
  3. David Burney, Kingfisher (2011) The Animal Encyclopedia of Kingfishers
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) Atlas of Threatened Species
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Animal Encyclopedia
  7. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) Encyclopedia of Mammals
  8. Black Panther information, available here: http://www.blackpantheranimal.com/black-panther-animal.php
  9. Black Panther Facts, available here: http://www.facts-about.org.uk/animals-panthers.htm
  10. About Black Panther, available here: http://www.animalport.com/animal-information/black-panther-animal-information.html