Feline creatures have existed for millions of years based on fossil evidence. While many species no longer exist, today’s big cats include the tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, jaguar, puma, and cheetah. The following article is a compilation of facts about these fantastic creatures, the big cats.
Like humans, big cats reside at the top of the food chain—surpassing even humans on rare and unfortunate occasions. Cats are both mammals and carnivores—something they also have in common with people.
There are thirty-seven species of wild cats in the world—most prefer warm regions, but some like the snow leopard prefers the snowy and frigid Asian mountains to live.
The Amur tiger is a giant cat in the world. From head to tail, it can grow up to thirteen feet long. It lives in the cold woodlands of eastern Russia, China, and North Korea.
An ancient ancestor of the big cats was the Smilodon. Similar to lions, it lived in open grasslands about eleven thousand years ago.
Jaguars, tigers, leopards, and pumas can be found in several rain forest areas. A dwindling of their natural habitat is also a reason for dwindling numbers of these cats.
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Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on earth. The clouded leopard has the most prolonged canine teeth.
Cats spend considerable time grooming themselves. They also hunt, mate, and care for themselves—quite a lot of work to do for creatures that all spend about nineteen to twenty hours of the day resting.
Cats can see up to six times better than humans in dim light—their expanding pupils allow them to see well in the dark.
Cats communicate by meowing, purring, growling, and roaring; only four cats roar; however, they are the lion, tiger, leopard, and jaguar. A lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away!
Tigers are the biggest and most powerful of all the cats. Each animal’s markings are unique in the same way that humans’ fingerprints are.
African lions live on the grass-filled plains of eastern and southern Africa. Pride contains anywhere from five to forty lions.
In the wild, lions generally live up to about fifteen years. A pride consists of related females, cubs, and only a few males.
Tigers are excellent swimmers—defying the notion that cats hate water. Tigers will spend some part of the day in water to cool off.
Jaguars are also water-lovers; a portion of this Central and South American cat’s diet includes fish and even small alligators.
Jaguars have the most powerful jaws and teeth of all cats.
Cheetah mothers move their cubs to a new location each day to prevent them from being killed by other predators.
The swift cheetah was used as a hunting dog in the 16th century; huntsmen caught young cheetahs and trained them to hunt for antelope and gazelle.
More Interesting Facts About Big Cats
Black leopards are referred to as panthers. Leopards with spots are seen to as clouded because of the shape of the places.
Pumas range in parts of North and South America. They are called many names, including cougar, mountain lion, panther, red tiger, Mexican lion, and catamount.
Pumas give birth to between one and six cubs. All mother cats can carry their cubs with their mouths.
There are only about four thousand snow leopards left in the world; hunters for their unusual coats prize them.
Tigers an endangered species—it is estimated that roughly four hundred tigers are still killed each year.
Busy times for most big cats are dawn, dusk, and night—cooler temperatures, and the cover of darkness allows them greater success.
Today, zoos, sanctuaries, and unique animal reserves are beneficial in the fight to preserve the big cats for future generations.