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Panthers are actually jaguars or leopards?

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;

and leopards

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.

BLACK JAGUAR

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.

BLACK LEOPARD

These are the most common form of black panther

in captivity

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.