What ‘big cats’ are native to North America?



  1. 0 Votes

    There are four distinct types of ‘large cat’ typically found in North America. These four species have numerous subspecies and are found in different regions across the continent; however they all have similar, distinctively feline characteristics.


    The most common and widely distributed large cat in the Americas is the Cougar; they are also known by several other names such as mountain lions, panthers and pumas. They are a medium sized cat, measuring about eight feet long and weighing between 100 and 150 pounds. Cougars are found just about everywhere in the western hemisphere, inhabiting the wildernesses from Canada’s Yukon Territory all the way to the southern Andes Mountains. Cougars are typically a shade of tan or brown, but can also be shades of dark brown or reddish-brown. These cats are solitary hunters that hunt both during the day and at night; they are typically ambush predators, stalking their prey from behind or waiting patiently in a tree or tall grass for their dinner to come to close. Cougar typically prey on small to medium game such as rabbits, wild boars and birds, however they have been known to take down much larger prey including deer, elk and even moose! Cougars were once heavily hunted because they prey on livestock in the wilderness of the American West.


    Like the cougar, jaguars are a widely dispersed predator in the Americas, inhabiting most of South America and reaching as far north as the southern United States. Jaguars are very much like the African Leopard, however they have evolved a smaller and more compact frame measuring about six feet from head to tail and tipping the scales at between 150 and 200 pounds. These jungle giants are typically nocturnal and prey upon anything they can find from small rodents, to fish to the continents’ largest animals. Jaguars are solitary creatures, males live on home ranges up to 40 square miles large, these plots are often shared with several females who migrate between the best feeding grounds and the most virile males. Jaguar sightings in the United States are extremely rare, although there have been a number of sightings in states like Arizona in recent years.


    The bobcat is the second most common cat in North America after the cougar. Bobcats are smaller than cougars or their close relatives the Canadian Lynx, however they are still twice as large as the ordinary house cat, measuring three feet long and weighing around thirty pounds. Although they are commonly mistaken for cougars or other big cats, bobcats actually have several unique characteristics including a square face, pointed black ears with tufts of fur, a small, stubby, black-tipped tail and a distinct, grey-brown coat with black stripes and spots covering its body. Bobcats typically hunt during dusk and early nighttime dining mostly on small game, squirrels and rabbits making up the majority of its diet; however they have been known to eat everything from insects of deer!

    Canadian Lynx:

    The Canadian Lynx is found almost exclusively in the cold climates of Northern Canada and Alaska, although they have been spotted in some northern states like Vermont, New Hampshire and Minnesota. These lynx typically have a silvery-grey or light brown coat which allows them to stalk their favorite prey, snowshoe hares, which make up the majority of their diet; they also feed on other small game, birds, and deer. Due to trapping and human expansion, the Canadian Lynx is now considered threatened in the lower 48 states, although the species is in less danger farther North in Canada and Alaska where it is a top predator.

    Black Panther:

    The cat above is a Black jaguar; Black cougars are also found in North America.

    Black Panthers are not a specific species of large cat, but rather just a term used for any large cat with a melanistic color variation that makes its coat appear all black. These are common in large cats; in Africa, black panthers are leopards with black coats, in South and Central America, they are black jaguars and in North America, black panthers are all black cougars although there have been recent sightings of a black jaguar in Arizona.

  2. 0 Votes

    One of the most common large cats in North America is the cougar, or mountain lion. Standing at about six feet long and weighing between 80 to 160 pounds, they are one of North America’s deadliest predators.

    I hope this helped!

  3. 0 Votes

    Bobcats, cougars, and lynx’s are the most common big cats in North America. All of these are not uncommon to see, as they are a part of the ecosystem. There are a couple of other cats such as the Jaguar and Ocelot that make some guest appearances in the far south of Texas and Mexico, but there is not a lot of habitat for them there. 

  4. 0 Votes

    Same thing tristen said. Cougars (mountain lions) Lnx’s, and bobcats

  5. 0 Votes

    Some of the most common large wild cats in the US, Canada, and Mexico include the cougar, bobcat, and lynx, which are fierce predators in their own rights. Other lesser known cats include pumas, ocelots and jaguars in the southern areas of the continent. As far as interactions with humans go, these large cats usually try to stay away from large populations, but can be dangerous in close proximity. Most reports of attacks or sightings have been single cats that wander into urban areas in search of food. I’ have always been told when facing a potential threat from a large cat, make yourself seem fierce and larger to scare it away; of course, if you can avoid contact with the animal, call Animal Control and stay indoors.

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