I love animals and cats are among some of my favorite. Even more fascinating than the smaller domestic cats, the big wild felines are some of my most favorite. Each wild cat has their own traits that are distinguishable from other felines and the differences are what makes them so special. I have a few favorites that I love reading and exploring more about.
The king of the jungle, the lion is perhaps one of the most fascinating out of all big wild cats. Their roar can be heard up to five miles away. Imagine how loud that is if you’re right next to one. With lions, the males seem to be more lazy than the females because they tend to sleep a lot during the day. The females often bring home the kill for everyone to eat. Sound familiar? They are also the second largest of all wild felines, living mostly in Africa, with the males being bigger than the females.
Lions are easily distinguished because of their beautiful mane. This is only the case with mature males, however. Young males have little or still growing mane, while the females have no mane at all. Still, it’s very easy to tell the difference between lions and other wild cats.
This wild cat is unique because it has more than one name. Despite it being called a mountain lion, it’s not actually a lion. This is probably one reason it has other names to go by. This is the biggest mountain cat, although its home has a farther range than just the mountains. They are also called panthers (though not true members of the pathera genus such as tigers, lions, leopards and jaguars as being a member of the pathera genus means that certain big cats have the cranial/anatomical features that allows them to roar) with the females being smaller than the males. This is one dangerous cat, so if you ever find yourself in an area that has them, take serious precaution.
Another fascinating and highly distinguishable feline. Tigers are known for having their signature stripes, which adds to their beauty. Tigers are the biggest wild cats ever, even bigger than lions, with the Siberian tigers being the biggest of them all. Tigers are special and with them becoming endangered, they need a lot of special care so that they aren’t completely wiped out.
Cheetahs are super fast, which is one reason why I love them so much. It makes me wish I was that fast. Cheetahs are distinct because of their spots, and significantly smaller than tigers and lions. Cheetahs have retractable claws which I think makes them even more special.
I put these two together because there is so much about them that is similar. It’s very difficult for many people to tell them apart because they look so much alike, but there are ways in which you can tell the difference.
Leopards – They have spots but are very different from the spots seen on cheetahs, their spots being more circular rosettes. Leopards are the smallest of the big cats.
Jaguars – They are much larger than leopards with them having central spots in the middle of their circular rosette spots. This is the main way you can tell the difference between leopards and jaguars.
There are often seen melanistic jaguars and leopards (being all black; the opposite of albinism) and in this case they are both called black panthers, with the black leopard being from Africa and the black jaguars to be in the Americas. Some melanistic leopards and jauguars have spots that are still slightly visible. Cats (or any animal) who has melanism have more resistance to diseases than animals of normal color.