Panthers are actually jaguars or leopards?
The Panther also commonly known
as the Black Panther
is a large member of the Big Cat family,
native to Asia, Africa and the Americas.
The Panther is not a distinct species itself
but is the general name used to refer
to any black coloured feline of the Big Cat family,
most notably Leopards and Jaguars.
The Panther is an elusive and powerful animal
that has adapted well to a variety of habitats
around the world,
and is known to be one of the strongest
climbers of all felines.
Although the Panther
is not technically classified as a separate species,
they are considered to be endangered
by many due to the declining numbers of both
Leopards and Jaguars
throughout much of their natural ranges.
The Panther tends to be dark brown
to black in colour
and is otherwise identical to the feline species
to which it belongs.
The only real exception to this
is the Florida Panther
found in the south east region of the USA,
that is believed to be a subspecies of Cougar
and is quite rarely dark brown in colour
and tends to have more of a speckled appearance.
Unlike Leopards and Jaguars,
the Panther has no spots on its long body or tail,
but instead has a shiny coat of dark fur.
The Black Panther is seen to be one of the most
intelligent and ferocious predators in America.
Some Panthers are actually able to swim,
although not those that are Leopards,
as Jaguars are known to have a real love of water.
Not only do these individuals prefer flooded forests
but they spend a remarkable amount of time swimming,
playing and hunting in the cooling water.
Melanism is most common in jaguars,
where it is due to a dominant gene mutation;
where it is due to a recessive gene mutation.
Close examination of one of these black cats
will show that the typical markings are still there,
and are simply hidden
by the surplus of the black pigment melanin.
It is probable that melanism
is a favorable evolutionary mutation
with a selective advantage
under certain conditions for its possessor,
since it is more commonly found in regions
of dense forest, where light levels are lower.
Melanism can also be linked to beneficial
mutations in the immune system.
In jaguars, the mutation is dominant
hence black jaguars can produce both
black and spotted cubs,
but spotted jaguars
only produce spotted cubs when bred together.
In leopards, the mutation is recessive
and some spotted leopards can produce black cubs.
if both parents carry the gene in hidden form
While black leopards
always breed true when mated together.
In stuffed mounted specimens,
black leopards often fade to a rusty color,
but black jaguars fade to chocolate brown.
Individuals with two copies of the gene are darker
the black background colour is more dense
than individuals with just one copy
whose background colour
may appear to be dark charcoal rather than black.
A black jaguar called Diablo
has been crossed with a lioness
at Bear Creek Sanctuary, Barrie, Canada
resulting in a charcoal coloured “black jaglion”.
The gene is therefore dominant
over normal lion coloration.
These are the most common form of black panther
and have been selectively bred for decades
as exhibits or exotic pets.
They are smaller and more lightly built than jaguars.
The spotted pattern is still visible on black leopards,
especially from certain angles
where the effect is that of printed silk.
Skin color is a mixture of blue black gray
and purple with rosettes.
A black panther (leopard) is able to hunt and kill animals
outweighing them by more than 1,350 pounds
but this is rare
because of competition from tigers and lions.
Adult black panthers are more temperamental
than their spotted counterparts.
It is a myth that their mothers often reject them
at a young age because of their colour.
In actuality, they are more temperamental
because they have been inbred to preserve the coloration.