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Size: Tigers are the largest living member of the cat family weighing 250-500 lb (110-225 kg), but may reach 800 lb (360 kg).
Two major subspecies exist: the Siberian (also called Manchurian) tiger, Panthera Tigris altaica
The Bengal tiger, Panthera Tigris Tigris
Location: They are found in all kinds of terrain, except desert; in southern and south-eastern Asia extending to north-eastern China and Siberia.
Coloring: orange-brown with long black stripes for the Bengal, and thick yellow fur with dark stripes on the Siberian. They are the only true striped wild cats.
Food: The diet is varied, ranging from deer and cattle to snakes and termites. Occasionally, carrion (decaying meat) is also eaten.
Hunting takes place in the evening and is primarily a female activity. The lion cautiously stalks its prey, similar to domestic cats. Once within close range, they sprint to catch the prey- reaching 30 miles per hour (50 km per hour). Lions use their great weight, and momentum from the chase to bring down their prey, which is then quickly dispatched with a bite to the throat. After the female has made a kill, the male comes to share the meat. A lion may gorge on 30 kg (66 lb) of meat and then go for over a week before the next kill.
Felis (Lynx) lynx
Size: 30-64 lb (13.5-29 kg) characterized by disproportionately long legs, large heavy paws, and short stubby tails. Lynx are powerfully built, stout-bodied animals, about 3 feet (90 cm) in maximum length.
Locations: They are found throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Coloring and coat: thick, soft fur, light brown in color with spots. Most species have a tuft of hair, more than 2 cm long, at the tip of each ear.
Food: weaker mammals and terrestrial birds
Felis (Leptailurus) serval
Size: 30-40 lb (13.5-18kg), with a slender body 4 ft (1 m) long and 20 inches (50 cm) high at the shoulder; a small head with long triangular ears, long legs and a short tail
Location: Algeria and Africa-south of the Sahara Desert- inhabiting grasslands and brush country of sub-Saharan Africa, but always near water.
Color: Buff-colored with black spots in rows down its back and legs
Food: small mammals, lizards, and birds, although it is powerful enough to kill young antelope.
It hunts by speed rather than stealth and climbs trees well.
When captured young, servals can be tamed but they are difficult to raise.
Size: 90-135 lb (40-135 kg) A mature jaguar is more than 7 ft (2 m) long and stands 2 ft (60 cm) high at the shoulder.
Location: inhabits tropical forests, as well as, open country from southern USA to Argentina.
Coat Color: yellow brown with spots clustered in rosettes each consisting of a circle of spots surrounding a central spot. They can also be solid dark brown.
Food: a wide range of arboreal (living in trees), terrestrial (ground dwelling), and aquatic (water) animals.
Felis (Leopardus) pardalis
Size: 12-30 lb (5.5-13.5kg), attains a body length of about about 36 inches (91 cm) and a tail length of about 18 inches (45 cm).
Location: found from Texas to Peru.
Colorings: The back of the animal is tinted with olive-tan or chestnut and is marked with black stripes and spots. The belly is usually white, marked with black.
Food: birds and small mammals.
Acinonyx jubatus -The cheetah is the only member of the genus Acinonyx.
Size: 65-110 pounds (30-50 kg), the cheetah has about the same body weight as the leopard (110 to 130 lb/50 to 60 kg), but it has a longer body, much longer legs, and a smaller head. The head and body, without the tail, are about 4.5 feet (1.8 m) long.
Locations: Ranges from Africa through the Middle East to Southern Asia.
Coloring: The coat is a yellow brown with dark spots. The coat is yellowish-brown with black spots
In India and Iran caracals are sometimes tamed and used for hunting because of their speed and agility. They also go after nesting or roosting birds at the tops of trees and have been known to attack eagles.
The caracal has been overhunted but is now a protected species.
The Canada lynx, L. canadensis, is found from the northern U.S. throughout Canada and Alaska. It is the largest species in North America, measuring 3 feet (90 cm) in total length, with a tail length of about 4 inches (10.2 cm).
The back is dark gray streaked with chestnut, and the belly is grayish-white.
The species feeds chiefly on snowshoe hares.
Felis (Mayailurus) iromotensis
Size: 12lb (5.5kg)
Location: A very rare cat found only in forest and scrubland on the island of Iriomote, east of Taiwan. Discovered in 1964, there are thought to be less than 100.
Coloring: A spotted cat, similar to the leopard cat of which it may be a subspecies
Clouded Leopard-General Facts
Panthera (Neofelis) nebulosa
Size: 40-66 lb (18-30 kg)
Location: inhabits dense forest and scrub (short dense vegetation) in southern and southeastern Asia.
Coat Color: pale brown with large blothces outlined in black. The blotches are not well defined spots or stripes as seen in other Great Cats.
The clouded leopard is the sole species of the genus Neofelis.
The Bengal tiger, which is about 10 feet (3 m) long, including the tail, and usually weighs no more than about 500 lb (230 kg), is found on the mainland of southeastern Asia and in central and southern India. Its coat lies flatter than that of the Siberian tiger, the tawny color is richer, and the stripes are darker. The Bengal inhabits grassy or swampy areas and forests, where it is well camouflaged by its coloration
The Puma is largest of the Small Cats, and is the greatest jumping cat.
The female bears one to six young in a litter; the young have dark brown spots on the back, and the tail is ringed.
Because ranchers suspect them of killing cattle, the animals have been exterminated or are endangered in many areas.
Felis (Prionailurus) bengalensis
Size: 7-15 lb (3-7kg)
Location: A common wild cat of southern and southeastern Asia, extending from India to the Philippines, Japan, Manchuria and eastern Siberia. Lives in forest and scrubland.
Coloring: A small spotted cat varying considerably in basic color depending on location.
Size: 100-150 lb (45-70 kg) The snow leopard's body is about 4 feet (1.2 m) long, and the tail is about 35 inches (90 cm).
Location: Lives in forests and open rocky ground in the mountains of Central Asia. The animal's range extends as high as 18,000 feet (5400 m) in the summer, when the animals that are its prey migrate upward to graze on new grass.
Coloring: It has a thick layer of soft underfur covered by thick, long hair. The beautiful coat is pale gray, with black rosettes and a black streak along the spine; the underparts are whitish.
The largest American wild cat, the jaguar is sometimes called a panther.
The head and body are massive; the legs are relatively short and thick, which help make the jaguar an adept climber and an excellent swimmer.
Although feared, it rarely attacks humans.
In the pre-Columbian civilizations of Peru and Central America, the Jaguar was worshiped as a god.
Lynx are agile climbers, spending much of their time in good weather on the limbs of trees, waiting for their prey to pass beneath them.
In inclement weather and when breeding, lynx live in caves or in hollow trees or logs.
Two to four kittens make up the average litter.
Lynx are valued for their fur.
Felis (Ocotocolobus) manul
Size: 7-11 lb (3-5 kg), The cat reaches a maximum length of about 26 inches (65 cm), with a tail about half as long. The skull is flattened and the ears rounded.
Cloring: The soft coat of long fur is orange-gray or yellowish-sliver with stripes on the cheeks, lower back, and the tail.
Location: small wild cat native to the cold, dry regions of central Asia.
In the tropical part of their range, jaguars appear to mate in any season. Elsewhere, they mate during the latter part of the year.
After a gestation period of about 100 days, the female bears two to four cubs, which reach maturity at about the age of two.
The jaguar has a life span of about 20 years.
Lions are polygamous (more than one mate) and breed every two years in the wild; captive lions breed every year. After a gestation period of about 110 days, two or three cubs are born with thick, spotted coats. Lions in captivity live 25 years or more; in the wild they seldom live more than 10 years, because they are often injured by their prey or by other lions.
Felis (Caracal) caracal; Also Persian lynx, common name for Felis caracal, a lynxlike member
Size: 35-50 lb (16-23 kg), the largest of the small cats of Africa,
Location: Africa, extending to Arabia and northern India. Found in the desert, savannah, scrub, rocky terrain, and mountains.
Coloring: Reddish-brown with distinctive tufted ears.
Food: Caracals live on small deer, hare, and birds
Felis (Herpailurus) yagouaroundi
Size: 12-22 lb (5.5-10kg) Graceful and rather otter-like in appearance
Location: lowland forest and bush primarily in Central and South America; an endangered species in Southern Texas-USA.
Coloring: plain grey-brown in winter, and plain chestnut-red in summer
Lion- General Facts
Size: 300-500 lb (135-225 kg) but may reach 750 lb (340 kg). The male grows to 10 ft (3 m) (including the tail) and 3.3 ft (1m) high.
Location: Found in Africa south of the Sahara Desert and in the Gir Forest of India. They live in most types of terrain.
Coat Coloring: plain tawny brown to help them blend in with the grasses of their home for camoflage. The male is differentiated from the female by the large mane around his neck.
Food: Lions are carnivores-meat eaters. Their prey ranges from insects to giraffes, but they prefer large animals such as zebras, which can be shared by the members of the pride.
Size: 90-150 lb (40-70 kg) The body of an adult is about 4 ft (1.2 m) long, not including the 3-ft (1 m) tail.
Location: Found in all types of terrain, but prefers scrub and forest. The Leopard ranges throughout most of Africa and from Asia Minor through southern Asia to China and Indonesia.
Coloring: Pale brown with spots clustered in rosettes, or very dark brown (black) panther.
Hunting and Food
The leopard is an agile climber and will often stalk monkeys in the trees. Leopards will also lie in wait on a limb for some terrestrial animal to pass beneath them.
Leopards hunt mainly at night.
When game is scarce, a leopard will eat field mice, fruit, porcupines, baboons, or crocodiles.
Lions inhabit open savannahs (open grassland/praire) with very little vegetation to act as cover and camoflage. Consequentially, they have evolved an efficient social organization and method of hunting. This eliminates the need to travel great distances for food. Lions generally travel only 5 miles (8 km) and use only two to three hours a day to search for and capture food. They spend the remaining hours loafing and dozing.
Felis (Puma) concolor
Size: 100-130 lb (45-60 kg), its body can be 6 feet (1.8 m) long, not including its long tail.
Location: The puma is found from British Columbia to Patagonia.
Coloring: The thick fur is yellowish-red above, lighter on the sides, and reddish-white on the belly; the muzzle, chin, throat, breast, and insides of the legs are whitish. The head is relatively small, with a black spot above each eye.
Food: Pumas hunt small animals, mainly at night.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|