Big Cats

Big Cats

The big cats are a group of large wild cats, some of the big cats include; Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Jaguar, Cheetah and Cougar.

Big Cats are traditionally mammals and are members of the mammalian carnivores i.e. they feed on the flesh of other animals, which are mainly herbivores (animals that feed on plants) and in some case respective smaller carnivores.

As it has been observed with most wild animals, the existence of the big cats are also either threatened or endangered by human as well as environmental factors.

Below are some notable facts about each of the named big cats that were mentioned above:

Lion

Lion

                                                                        Photo by jonesbusy

The Lions are one of the biggest of the big cats, and are second only to the Tiger

Male lions are bigger than the female lions, the length of a matured lion minus the tail could measure as long as 8.5 to 10.8 feet, which is about 2.6 to 3.3 meters and the tail could measure from 2 to 3.3 feet (60-100cm). An adult lion could weigh as much as 330-530 pounds (150-240kg) which is about the weight of two average sized adult men.

Today lions are found only in Africa and Asia. The natural habitats of lions are the savannah, grassland and perhaps the woodlands.

Lions are social cats, which is untraditional for cats in general and live in groups; the general nomenclature for a cluster of lions living together is known as a ‘pride’. A lion pride consist of a minimum of two adult female lions, the female lions usually do the hunting and mostly at night, and they hunt in an organized group. The male lions however barely hunt and only do when the pride is hunting a larger or more powerful prey like Elephants and adult Giraffe.

A baby lion is called a cub, females in a lion pride look after the cubs together. Lion cubs are born with spots on their body but they disappear as they mature.

Jaguar

The jaguar is the third largest big cat on the planet. Jaguars are very similar to leopards but are much larger and are like other big cats (except the lions) solitary predators. They have a sturdy and however muscular body with a colossal head and possess short limbs which make them skilled in crawling, swimming and climbing.

The size of an average jaguar when measured from head minus the tail section measures from between 3.7 to 6.1 feet (112-185cm) in length while the tail length measures from 1.5 to 2.5 feet (45- 75cm). An adult jaguar could weigh up to within 126 to 249 pounds (57-113kg)

Culture and mythology of mostly Central and South America have exalted the image of the jaguar, with many stories in the folklore of many of the countries in the region.

Jaguars are found naturally in South America. The traditional habitat of the jaguar is mostly in dense forests and they love the murk and swampy locations.

Jaguars enjoy swimming, and this goes without saying; they are incredible swimmers, and can swim vast body of rivers.

Jaguars can live up to 12 years in the wild and as long as 20 years in captivity.

Leopard

The Leopard is a skilled predator, distinctively known for its climbing skills, which makes hiding in a tree a bad idea for any prey trying to get away from this well designed predator.

An adult leopard can measure up to 3.3 to 6.3 feet (100-190cm) in length minus tail, while their tails measure between 2.3 to 3.1 feet (70-95cm). Leopards weigh between 66 and 155 pounds (30-70kg).

Leopards are naturally found in Africa; South of the Sahara, India, Asia and in the Middle East. Leopards can live in almost any habitat from the tropical rain forest to the savanna, and the dessert, they could also be found in the cold mountains and even found in our urban suburbs.

They eat mostly goats, gazelles, antelope, wild pigs, livestock, monkeys and even dogs.

Leopards can live up to 12 years in the wild and as long as 20 years in captivity.

Cheetah

 The cheetahs are a member of the big cats, one of the smallest and famously known as one of the fastest land animals on the planet with the ability to reach speeds of an amazing 70 miles per hour. They do not possess a bulky frame like other big cats as they hunt using their extreme speed to run down their prey.

Cheetahs can range in length from 3.7 to 4.4 feet (112-135cm) not including the tail section, while their tails can be as long as between 2.2 to 2.8 feet (66-84cm) in length. An adult cheetah weighs between 86 and 143 pounds (39-65kg).

These animals live in Africa, South Asia, and Middle East and have quite adapted to almost every kind of habitat except the rain forest.

The favorite prey of the cheetah is the gazelles, and mostly hunts smaller mammals. Cheetahs can live up to 12 years in the wild and as long as 17 years in captivity

Tiger

The Tiger is the largest member of the big cats, the size of a Bengal male tiger measure as long as

8.8 to 10.2 feet (2.7 to 3.1m) from head to tail while female tigers measure between 7.8 and 9.4 feet (2.4-2.8m)

Male tigers weigh as much as 396 to 573 pounds (180-260kg) and female tigers weigh between: 287 to 353 pounds (130-160kg)

Like many big cats, the tigers are solitary and territorial in nature and guard their territory rather ferociously against other tigers.

Tigers are found in Asia, Russia and in many zoos around the world.

 

One of the beauties of the tigers is their stripes; the dark, vertical stripes that overlay the reddish- orange color is one of the better perceptible features of the tiger.

Tigers living in the wild will usually prey on animals such as buffalo and bore.

 

They tigers are one of the most critically endangered animals in the world with the total population of tigers estimated at below just 2,500.

 

Cougar

Cougar                                                                           Photo by Chealion

Also known as Puma or the mountain lion, they are one of the smallest of the big cats and could be regarded as on the second biggest cat in the Americas, having head and body length of between 3.4 to 6.4 feet (105-196cm) and their tail length can measure between 2.2 to 2.6 feet (67-78cm). Cougars weigh between 79 and 227 pounds (36-103kg).

They live in Canada, Texas and Florida. They are regarded as the most adapted of the big cats and can live in almost any habitat. Their primary habitats are the grasslands and forest.

Like other big cats, they are solitary in nature and are often secretive animals and rarely seen. They are known for their awesome ability to leap over high obstacles, incredible strength and swiftness. They live can live up to 12 years in the wild and as long as 21 years in captivity.