Thursday

What is this creature?


This animal stumped my daughter...she had no idea. Do you? If you think you know what it is, leave a comment on this post!

Monday

Seeing spots...a Big Cat Test



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:


Lion
Cheetah
Cougar
Tiger
Clouded Leopard
Snow Leopard
Jaguar
Leopard

If you can't identify all of them, look below because I will give you a big hint to help you out!







Can you do it now?   Keep scrolling to see the answers.  Study them well, because my next post will present the actual cats for you to identify!






How many did you get?  Comment and let me know!


Wednesday

Maneless Lions & Man-Eaters


In certain climates, adult male lions delay growing a mane until they are much older; these lions are known as maneless lions. And strangely enough, three of the most notorious man-eating lions were maneless!


The largest man eating lion on record, measuring 5 feet from floor to ear tips and 10 feet 6 inches in length, was a maneless lion. Called the Man-Eater of Mfuwe, the lion killed six people in two months. It was shot in 1991 in Zambia.


Most famous, though, are the Ghosts of Tsavo. During a nine-month period in 1898, two maneless male lions killed between 35 and 145 men, taking them as they were building a railroad in Tsavo, Kenya. A fictionalized movie, The Ghost and the Darkness, was made of the story.


Maneless lions have been reported in Senegal and Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. The original white lion discovered in Timbavati was also maneless


These three famous man-eaters are on display in The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
For more information on these man eaters, go here.


For more information about maneless lions, go here.




Monday

The King!



The King of Beasts...the lion!  Most people can identify a male lion with no problem.  


There are eight subspecies of lion, most of which live in Africa. A small number of Asiatic lions live in the Gir Forest in India:



There are also white lions living wild in Tambavati, though many zoos and circuses have them on display. 



White lions are not albino, but leucistic South Africa lions; That means their normal tan coat color is suppressed with the chinchilla gene, but their eyes are gold-brown, not red like a true albino's.


Lions are the only big cats that lives in groups, called prides. The pride can have up to forty members, most of which are females and cubs.



That big lion mane? Lions are the only big cats where it is easy to tell the males from the females.  

And speaking of manes, let's take a look at the different colors their manes can be: 



Amazing variety, isn't there?

 Got something to say about this?  Leave me a comment!







Wednesday

So what is a black panther, anyway?


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!


What about black lions?  Here's an informative clip about whether they exist or not:


Monday

Ligers, Tigons, and Bears, oh my!


Okay, not bears. Not today anyway! We are still exploring the big cats and since we’ve been discovering tigers, let me introduce you to the liger and the tigon!*
The liger and the tigon are half tiger and half lion. But to be a liger the mother has to be a tiger and the father has to be a lion.  The opposite is true of the tigon.  


So what is the difference between the two?


Actually, there’s a BIG difference. And that difference includes size!  You remember that the largest big cat is the tiger, right? Well, a large tiger can weigh about 750 lbs.  A liger can weigh 1000 lbs.  


Take a look at Hercules, above. The liger is the biggest big cat of all!
The tigon is more like a tiger in size and coloration.

But there’s more. The cubs of a tigon crossed with a tiger are known as ti-tigons. and and a lion/tigon cross is a li-tigon!  


Want to know more? Here’s a great link to ti-tigons and li-ligers!
* Also known as tiglon and tion

Wednesday

Golden Tabby Tigers


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.






Monday

Tiger, tiger, burning white...


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!

Friday

If you blink, they'll be gone...


The largest cat in the world is the tiger!

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!

Wednesday

Sneak Cat and Catawampus


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.)