Their size is certainly astounding when compared to an ordinary house cat, but the real big cats of the world have some truly extraordinary qualities. Read on to find out some incredible fun facts about the world's largest feline predators!
1. Siberian Tiger
At nearly 11-feet long and weighing in at close to 700 lbs. on average, male Siberian Tigers are the largest cats in the world. These ferocious animals are excellent hunters and thrive in cold environments. Though these creatures are known for exceptional night vision – ideal for their nocturnal hunting lifestyle – Siberian Tigers are actually born blind. They depend solely on their mothers for food until they mature and can become independent hunters.
2. African Lion
Certainly one of the most magnificent cats in the world, the African Lion is strong, powerful, and ferocious. Living in prides of about 10 to 15 lions, they are considered to be a social species. The lionesses in the pride do most of the hunting and the lions actually sleep up to 20 hours per day. But when they are awake, they make their presence known with a roar that can actually be heard up to five miles away!
These fierce felines are the third largest big cats in the world – and the largest in the Americas. These magnificent cats are a far cry from your typical household kitty. Unlike most felines, they like the water. Their preferred habitat is the rainforest and they will pounce into the water for food. Speaking of food – jaguars aren’t picky eaters. They will eat just about anything from snakes to cows, and they have enough power and strength in their jaw to bite through a human skull – skill lions don't even have.
The most adaptable of the big cats, cougars can be found in more than one type of habitat, scattered all over the USA. Cougars can live anywhere from forests, to deserts, to mountains. There are over 30,000 cougars in the US today. They aren’t able to roar like some other big cats. In fact, they have a purr similar to the sound of domesticated cats. But don’t be fooled by their kitty-like sounds. This is one tough wildcat, with the ability to jump as far as 45 feet!
An expert hunter, the leopard is a very fast big cat! These animals can run over 35 mph. They are also excellent climbers. They often hunt food and carry it up into a tree to avoid losing their fresh meal to nearby scavengers or other leopards. After all, leopards do put a lot of effort into getting their paws on a meal. They stalk their prey closely, pounce, and immediately tear into the neck. Skilled and precise hunters, leopards use their time wisely in the wild.
If you thought the leopard was fast, then this next big cat will really impress you. A cheetah can run up to 70 mph, making it faster than your car is on your way to work in the morning! They can also reach that speed in just three seconds. So they’re quick on their feet, to say the least. Cheetahs, unlike most other big cats, hunt in the daytime. In fact, they do this specifically to avoid competition from lions, leopards, and other predators.
7. Snow Leopard
As the name suggests, this feline predator lives in cold areas in Central and South China. Their bodies are built to endure the cold like no other animal. They have very thick fur to keep them warm and huge paws to help them trek through the snow. Probably the most interesting fun fact, the snow leopard’s nose actually heats up the air it inhales before it reaches the lungs. That’s one way to keep warm.
Do you have some more points on Big Cats that we did not mention? Tell us in the comments below!
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