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The Roaring Big Cats

The Roaring Big Cats

20th February 2012

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.


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!

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!


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!

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.