Beautiful BIG CATS in the Wild
The most beautiful and biggest wild cats out in nature. From a giant extinct breed of lion to the amazing predator the jaguar!
Take your typical fiercely private leopard, make it three times more shy, stick it up in a snowy mountain top and give it military grade camouflage, and that’s the snow leopard for you, folks.
It lives in the desolate mountain ranges of central and southern Asia, notably in the Himalayan region.Its fluffy coat is up to three inches long and dull-colored, ranging from white, through smoky gray, to a light yellowish tan. Although they’re smaller than their cousins from warmer climates, they’re still big enough to be frightening, with the tail being about as long as the rest of the body. The latest big snow leopard story is the first good news in a while – their status has improved from “endangered” to “vulnerable” after 45 years.
The clouded leopard stalks the foothills of the Himalayan range, but it was registered as a vulnerable species in 2008.It’s the smallest of all the big cats, and actually isn’t closely related to the leopard. They got their name from their fur– it’s dark grey or ocherous, but this is largely hidden underneath black and dusky-grey blots that sort of resemble irregular clouds. Cloud leopards are the best jumpers among their cousins, and they’re the best musicians too! They produce wide variety of sounds, including purring, chuffing, hissing, mewing, growling, moaning, and snorting.
3 The Liger
This strange cat is a hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger, and grows much bigger than either of them. Its counterpart is the tigon, which is a mix of a male tiger and female lion, but tigons don’t reach anywhere near a liger size.Although the name “liger” is a recent thing, this kind of mixed cat has existed even way back in the early 19th century. Ligers love to swim like tigers, and they’re very sociable, like lions.They typically have lion-like tawny, sandy or golden fur, with tiger-like striped markings.Their stripes, however, are very faint, and can be black, dark brown or sandy.They can also produce double-hybrid babies: in 2002, a baby liliger was born in the Russian Novosibirsk Zoo, from a lion father and liger mother. The cub was female and they named her Kiara.The largest healthy liger known is a male called Hercules.
You might remember him from our video 12 BIGGEST Cat Breeds where we go over giant domestic and un-domesticated felines.
2 The Black Panther
What we call the “black panther” is actually a few types of big cats. Jaguars, leopards, and a species of cougar, but they have
melanism, meaning that their bodies produced way too much melanin, the pigment that’s responsible for dark skin and hair.
Such animals still have the markings of their species, but they’re hidden in the dense dark fur. This gives their coat an effect like the pattern of printed silk. A black panther’s behavior will depend on its “original” species, which is why it took biologists a while to figure out exactly what these black beasts were, a genetic anomaly. Even more rare than the black panther is the white panther. These are the big cats who have albinism they are striking creatures, but don’t hold your breath because you may never be able to see one out in the wild.
Jaguars are adept swimmers and tree-climbers.
They’re often mistaken for leopards, because of their similar coats, despite being a distinct species.Another uncanny similarity is the strength of its bite, with one scary difference. Since it’s such an avid swimmer, the jaguar’s bite has evolved to be even stronger than the leopard’s – strong enough to pierce the shells of the armored reptiles which it hunts.Photographer Justin Black caught a jaguar, nicknamed Mick Jaguar by biologists in the area, in action as it stalked and then ambushed a large caiman. It was a battle we’re glad was documented. The jaguar prefers to stalk and ambush, and then it bites into the skull right between the ears, into the brain of its prey. The scariest thing about this terrifying big cat is that it drags the body of its victim all the way up a tree to avoid floods and rival predators, and the biggest jaguar ever recorded was a huge male which weighed over 300 lbs. Just to put that into perspective, the average male jaguar is around 50-100 lbs.No wonder the old Mayas and Aztecs considered them divine beasts of power and rulership. That’s also why Mexico chose a red jaguar as the first official Olympic mascot in 1968.