The big cat species are one of the most apex predators in the world. Initially, the term “big cat” represented the four large wild cats namely tigers, lions, leopards, and jaguars of which all these belong to the genus Panthera. Big cats, however, display similar structural and behavioural patterns and can also differ in shape, size and colour. Their advanced predatory behaviour gives them the top position in food web in their respective habitats and ecosystems. Also, Big cats are among the top tourist attractions in countries where they are found. Here is the list of top 10 Biggest Cats in the World,
Ligers are the world’s biggest cats, with the combined strength of a lion and speed of a tiger. The liger is a hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger with an average of 12 feet. Also, the liger has parents belonging to the same genus but to the different species. However, they enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable animals like lions. One of the best land animals, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species.
Today, the Liger named Hercules is the biggest cat in the world lives in Miami that weighs approximately 922 pounds. Talking about the appearance, it has sandy, dark yellow fur with faint stripes and rosettes, however, the back side of the ears is covered with dark spots and the bottom part is white coloured. The behaviour and morphology are more like a lion. Despite being a massive, it can run extremely fast that can reach a speed of 50 miles per hour.
2. Siberian Tiger
The Siberian Tiger is one of the largest wild cats in the world. Popularly known as the Amur Tiger, this magnificent animal is found predominantly in the Sikhote-Alin Mountain Range of Russia. Today, there are only about 400 Siberians left in the world. Also, Siberian Tigers can be found in zoos, parks and conservation areas around the world. The Siberian Tiger has particularly narrow black stripes on its strong, majestic body. They have short legs which are very strong and well-developed.
The Siberian tigers can be distinguished from other tigers with the help of striped fur. Like humans have unique fingerprints, similarly, no two tigers have the same striped pattern. The Siberian tigers have paler and fewer strips with manes. Female Siberian tigers give birth every two years; however, it can be any time of the year. The species is considered endangered according to IUCN’s Red List. The primary reason includes habitat loss, deforestation and last but not the least they are poached and illegally hunted for their fur and various body parts that are used for traditional medicines.
3. African Lion
The lion is the third biggest cat member in the world. Lions are generally predatory carnivores hunting mainly wildebeest, zebras, buffalos, giraffes, deer, the wild boar, and the gemsbok. However, it is interesting to know that lionesses within the pride are responsible for hunting while the males guard their territory and catch their prey. Typically, the lion inhabits in grasslands and savannas but they are totally absent in dense forests. Furthermore, it has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996 because the population of the lions has declined steadily in the African range.
One of the fierce animals across the globe, lion usually lives in groups of around 30 lions. The pride contains three lions with a dozen related females and their youngs. The size of the prideis determined by the food and water availibilty in the area. The members used to communicate with each other by roaring and both the male and femmale species have a very powerful roar that can be heard up to 8 km away. Also, both male and female have different roles in the forest. Male used to guard its territory and take care of the cubs, however, females are the primary hunters os the group.
One of the biggest cats in the world mostly seen in North, Central and South America. The species is endangered because of illegal hunting for fur and they mostly kill livestock on the nearby farms. It cann reach upto 5-7 feet in length and wieghs approsimately 200-250 pounds. Taling about the appearance, they have a tan or orange fur covered with black spots arranged in rosettes, however, some jaguars are melanistic that means they are completely black. It is also listed as one of the dangerous Amazon Rainforest animals in the world.
The species love to eat 85 different kind of species that includes caimans, Fish, capybaras, tapirs and list goes on. Jaguars are nocturnal animals who oves to live solitary that means on thier own. The only natural enemies of Jaguars are Anaconda, however, worst enemies are humans. They mark thier territories by marking a scratch on the tree and can very easily climb trees. The size of the thier territory depends on the availability of food.
Cougar is a large, powerful, tawny cat that posses a long, slender body and a long tail. It is an endangered species and the widest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the entire Western Hemisphere. Cougar belongs to the subfamily Felinae and is one of the most famous US animals in the world. Also, it is an ambush predator which is believed to be the biggest cat in North America and the second-heaviest cat in the New World after the jaguar.
The species is called by various names that include mountain cat, mountain lion, catamount or panther, puma that depends on the region and holds the Guinness book of records with the highest number of names. Cougars have over 40 names in total. It loves to eat deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep in the northern part of its range. The size of Cougars is smallest close to the equator and gradually increases towards the pole.
Leopard is one of the five species belonging to the genus Panthera. The leopard occurs is found commonly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. It is listed as the most Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List as compared to any other wild cats. However, it is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but generally has a smaller, lighter physique such as short legs and a long body with a large skull. Furthermore, Leopards are hunted illegally in some part of the world for their body parts which are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration.
7. Snow Leopard
The snow leopard is a large cat mainly native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is also listed as the Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because the global population of Snow leopard is estimated at less than 10,000. Moreover, Snow Leopards are found at altitudes between 9,800 and 17,000 feet high, ranging from Afghanistan to Kazakstan and Russia in the north to India and China in the east.
One of the toughest animals around the globe, Snow leopards are most active during dusk and dawn and love to eat wild goats and sheep, however, occasionally; they also eat hares, rodents and birds. It has been seen that they can leap 30 to 50 feet to catch its prey. Talking about the appearance, it has soft and thick fur that is usually yellowish or grey in colour arranged in rosettes around the spots. The exact lifespan of snow leopard is unknown; however, they can survive upto 21 years in captivity.
Cheetah is a large cat belonging to the subfamily Felinae that mainly prey upon antelopes and gazelles. Cheetah is found commonly in Southern, North and East Africa. The species is vulnerable as per the IUCN Red List. Also, it is the fastest land animal in the world which is characterised by a slender body, deep chest, spotted coat, small rounded head, black tear-like streaks on the face. However, it is interesting to know that cheetahs are active mainly during the day with adult males more sociable despite their territoriality, while females prefer to live with their offspring in home ranges.
Related: 10 Interesting Facts About Cheetah
9. Clouded Leopard
The clouded leopard is a wildcat which is native to and found most commonly in the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. It is listed as the Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The clouded leopard is named for its distinctive ‘clouds’ on its coat and has an exceptionally long tail for balancing, which can be as long as the body itself. Also, the clouded leopard is known for having the longest canine teeth of any living feline. Moreover, it is the state animal belonging to the Indian state of Meghalaya which is well adapted to forest life.
10. Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized wild cat which is native to Siberia, Central, Eastern, and Southern Asia, Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. It is characterized by having a short body, long legs and large feet. Also, It has been listed as the Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Also, The Eurasian lynx is one of the widest rangings of all cat species and also the third largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf.
Talking about the appearance, Eurasian Lynx whole body is covered with dark-coloured dots, however, ears are covered with white patches and at the end, you can see black tufts. Since it is not a fast runner, it usually hides behind them and uses the element of surprise to hunt down its prey. With the help of sharp claws, they can very easily climb on the trees and even used it for defence against the predators.
These are the biggest cats in the world. Do post your comments.