Have you ever wondered what makes a big cat a big cat? How about which one of these fierce felines is the biggest of them all? This big cats size comparison will cover these facts and more – all while using everyday objects so you can see just how big they are!
Some of the largest land predators in the world belong to the family of big cats. From lions to tigers to leopards and more, their diversity allows them to exist in a variety of shapes and sizes. Learn more about just how big some of these big cats are by reading below.
Lions are also the fourth largest land predators, falling behind the polar bear, the grizzly bear, and one other big cat on this list (talk about a big cats size comparison!).
At their shoulders, male lions can grow to be nearly four feet tall. When you take into account their neck and head, you’d most likely see eye to eye with these kings of the jungle! Like many other big cats, they can grow to be up to 10 feet long.
Lions can also weigh up to 550 pounds, with smaller lions weighing as little as 330 pounds. However, the largest lion ever recorded, which passed in 1936, weighed as much as 690 pounds – the same as the average motorcycle!
Lions are actually divided into several types of lions, or subspecies, which vary slightly in appearance and size. The smallest lions are the West African lion, and the largest is the Barbary lion, though it is thought to now be extinct.
Tigers are the third largest land predator and the largest of the big cats.
The largest tiger is the Siberian tiger, and it’s also the holder of the tiger world record. One Siberian tiger, a tiger in captivity named Jaipur, weighed in at over 900 pounds measured nearly 11 feet from nose to tail. That’s the same weight as a grand piano, and only a few feet shorter than a giraffe’s height!
However, Jaipur is a bit of an outlier, though not by too much.
On average, most tigers weigh anywhere from 140 to 700 pounds. That’s a big difference for sure, but it accounts for the different types of tigers.
For example, you’re more likely to find Siberian tigers like Jaipur weighing around 690 pounds, about the same as a large vending machine, and only around 9 to 10 feet long. Sumatran tigers, however, are the smallest subspecies. While they can reach around the same lengths, their max weight is 300 pounds – half of the Siberian tiger!
The most common tiger subspecies is the Bengal, or Indian, tiger. These are the tigers you probably know best, and they account for nearly half of all wild tigers. At their shoulders, Bengal tigers are around 3.6 feet tall, or 43 inches. For reference, the largest dog, the Irish Wolfhound, is only 32 inches at the shoulder. Bengal tigers can also grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 490 pounds.
When it comes to big cats, modern leopards aren’t record setting, especially compared to their other wild cousins. While leopards may have once rivaled even the largest lions, leopards of today have a maximum weight of 200 pounds.
The largest subspecies of leopards is the Persian leopard. These fierce felines can grow to be nearly nine feet long from nose to tail and weigh as much as 200 pounds – or around 15 times the size of your pet cat!
The Arabian leopard is the smallest subspecies. They have a head to rump size of 6 to 7 feet and can weigh as little as 44 pounds as an adult.
Snow Leopard Size
While still smaller than the Persian leopard, the snow leopard is larger than the Arabian leopard. Born for the cold climate of the mountaintops, snow leopards reach an average weight of around 70 pounds, though they can weigh as much as 90 pounds.
At their shoulders, snow leopards are around 2 feet tall, which is common for the leopard family. As for their body length, snow leopards are usually around 7 feet long.
Human Vs. Big Cats Size Comparison
After learning about how big some of the biggest big cats are, you may be wondering just how big they are compared to you.
When it comes to shoulder height, you’ll find you’re taller than most of these big cats. The tallest here is the lion, which still only stands four feet tall at the shoulders. That’s around the height of your average 8-year-old! Leopards, however, including snow leopards, won’t be much taller than your typical canine companion. In fact, they tend to be the same height as furry pups like Golden Retrievers.
However, on their hind legs, even the smallest of these felines have the ability to tower over you. The smallest leopard grows to be at least 6 feet long, which is several inches taller than the average human height. For big cats who can grow to be up to 11 feet long, like the tiger, they can be nearly double the height of the typical adult human!
Humans can outweigh the largest leopards and even some of the smallest subspecies of others included in this big cat size comparison. When it comes to the average weight for these big cats, though, humans barely come close. Take both the heaviest lions and tigers for example – it can take nearly 5 humans to weigh the same as one of them!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/MaggyMeyer
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