This big cat has over 40 names in English; names like Mountain Screamer and Deer Tiger, Swamp Lion and Indian Devil**.
But we are more familiar with the names Cougar, Puma, and Mountain Lion.
Cougars are the fourth largest cat in the world, but are not considered a true big cat because they cannot roar. They do hiss, growl and purr, and are well-known for their screams**.
IK1*: Adult coloring is plain (silvery to tawny to red)
IK2: Lighter contrasting fur from underbelly up to chin
IK3: black coloring around whiskers
Check out the links below for some fun information about cougars!
*Identification Key (More about identification keys here.)
Let’s start with seeing the differences in those big cats that have black spots on tan; the cheetah, the leopard, and the jaguar.
The IKs* are fairly simple, and if you can remember them, you will never have trouble telling these black & tans apart again!
Cheetah IK: Believe it or not, the only big cat with simple round black spots is the cheetah.
Leopard IK: This cat has a flower-like pattern of black spots called rosettes. They are the same size all over the body. There is a slightly different fur color inside each one.
Jaguar IK: Jaguars also have rosettes, but they are larger in the middle of the body, and have black dots inside. There is a slightly different fur color inside each one.
Okay, so what cat is in the photo above?
Look for my next post on the patterns of clouded leopard vs snow leopard.
*On many of my blog posts, I will provide some specific Identification Keys, or IKs, as seen and described in the photos. (More about identification keys here.)
This is a National Geographic video, from 1939, of an Indian prince using cheetahs to hunt.
So what do you have to do to be classified as a big cat? You have to be able to…. roar!
An expanded classification of big cats also includes four more felines that can’t roar, but are big in size.
Below is a snapshot of the fur colors and patterns of the eight big cats. Let’s see how many you can identify:
In my next post, we will take a closer look at the patterns and give you some keys that will help you “spot” them…ha ha.
Looks like a gharial…but it’s not! This is the False gharial, classified as a freshwater crocodile. It is found in Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo. Check out the differences close-up in the snouts of the False gharial and the real gharial below. What characteristics of the true crocodile do you see in the False gharial on the left?*
*Gharial photo by John White, courtesy of the Berkeley Digital Library Project.
Alligators and crocodiles can be born albino. This means they are without pigment, or coloration. A true albino has pale skin and red eyes, like Whitie here, an albino alligator at the Serengeti Park in Hodenhagen, Germany.
But alligators and crocodiles can also be born leucistic (loo-SIS-tik), which means they are born with a small portion of pigmentation. Their eyes are dark, and they have pale skin with some pigmented areas. Take a look at the pictures below to see what albino and leucistic crocodilians look like.
Here are the answers to the last post on crocodiles. Check it out and see well you did!
Let’s see how you do on this test for crocs, gators, & gharials. Should be fairly simple to figure it out if you remember these three things:
- Snout shape
- indent in snout (or not) for lower 4th tooth
- visible upper/lower teeth.
Okay. let’s go!
Next post I’ll give you the answers…not that you need them….right? 🙂