We've been through all the big cats now, and I just want to know one thing. Can you identify a big cat when you see one?
Let's start with the fur. Take a look at all the fur samples below, and see if you can identify them all. And just to refresh your memory, here are their names:
If you can't identify all of them, look below because I will give you a big hint to help you out!
How many did you get? Comment and let me know!
Black panthers are any member of the big cat family (roaring and non-roaring) that are born with an entirely black or very dark pelt. They are mostly found among leopards and jaguars.
So a black panther isn't a certain species of cat, but a color.
For example, a black panther in South America would be a black jaguar.
In Africa and India, it would be a black leopard.
What about black cougars,tigers or cheetahs? Well, there's some evidence of black or melanistic tigers, but almost none on the other two big cats.
Let's look at the most common black panthers: jaguars and leopards, below. Beautiful!
So you thought tigers just came in orange & black, or white & black? There are actually rare tiger colors that are not as well-known.
The golden tabby, above, has dark orange stripes instead of black.
The black tiger has wider stripes and more black on its head and back.
And the blue tiger? A blue tiger cub was born at a zoo in Oklahoma, but died while young. There have been reports and descriptions of blue (Maltese) tigers in the wild, but not one has been captured!
What do you think? Pretty amazing colorations!
The tiger is beautiful, but certain types are very rare and will soon be gone from the earth.
Want to help? Visit the Save the Tiger Fund to see how.
The legendary white tiger. The tiger of choice for Indian royalty. A rare cat stalking through the jungle...well, not so rare anymore. There are several hundred around the world and their numbers are growing. Why? Zoos and animal attractions know they are a big hit with the public and so pursue selective breeding to create white tigers.
But white tigers are not albinos. Even the whitest of the tigers, stripeless tigers, have a faint pattern of stripes. And did you know that their white fur changes with temperature? The color gets creamier when the air is cold!
There are six existing subspecies and three that are extinct. The remaining tigers are all in grave danger of extinction as well. Some predict that in ten years, all tigers will be extinct in the wild.
A tiger is easy to identify. Is it huge and striped? It's a tiger!
Here are the nine types of tigers. They all look pretty similar, but my next two posts will show you various colorations, some that I bet you never knew existed!
his big cat has over 40 names in English; names like Mountain Screamer and Deer Tiger, Swamp Lion and Indian Devil*.
But we are more familiar with the names Cougar, Puma, and Mountain Lion.
Cougars are the fourth largest cat in the world, but are not considered a true big cat because they cannot roar. They do hiss, growl and purr, and are well-known for their screams*.
IK1**: Adult coloring is plain (silvery to tawny to red)
IK2: Lighter contrasting fur from underbelly up to chin
IK3: black coloring around whiskers
Check out the links below for some fun information about cougars!
**Identification Key (More about identification keys here.)