Cats of all sizes can be found in different habitats around the world but out of the nearly 40 different cat species, four really set themselves apart. The world's Big Cat Family is one of power and distinctiveness and although it is not a true way of classifying these felines, this group contains some of the most dominant predators on the planet.
The term "Big Cat" most commonly refers to four members of the genus Panthera which are the tiger, the lion, the leopard and the jaguar which are four of the world's largest felines that are able to roar (something which other cat species cannot do). However, these magnificent carnivores are under threat throughout much of their once vast natural ranges.
Tiger Scientific Name: Panthera tigris Size: 2.8m - 3.3m (9ft - 11ft) Location: Asia Habitat: Dense tropical forest Conservation Status: Endangered Fun Fact: The largest feline in the world!
Lion Scientific Name: Panthera leo Size: 1.4m - 2.5m (4.7ft - 8.2ft) Location: sub-Saharan Africa Habitat: Open woods and grassland Conservation Status: Vulnerable Fun Fact: Lives in small groups called prides!
Leopard Scientific Name: Panthera pardus Size: 1m - 1.9m (3.3ft - 6.2ft) Location: sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia Habitat: Rainforest and grassland Conservation Status: Near Threatened Fun Fact: Spends much of the time high in the trees!
Jaguar Scientific Name: Panthera onca Size: 1.1m - 1.9m (3.6ft - 6.2ft) Location: Central and South America Habitat: Rainforest and Swamp Conservation Status: Threatened Fun Fact: The largest feline on the American continent!
The tiger is the largest member of the Big Cat Family, followed by the lion, the jaguar and then the leopard, which despite it's smaller size is powerful enough to drag prey many times it's own weight high into the trees. Other large felines including cheetahs and cougars are also sometimes classed as being part of the Big Cat Family depending on how it is classified.
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