Out of the 37 species of cats, eight reign supreme. Because of their size, strength, and predatory skills, these cats are considered the “big cats.” Check out a few wild facts about these fabulous felines!
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An adult lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away.
Not a Copycat
A tiger’s pattern is like a fingerprint—no two patterns of stripes are exactly the same.
A cheetah is the fastest land animal, reaching speeds over 60 miles per hour, and can pump out as many as four strides per second at top speed. They can accelerate faster than most cars!
Snow leopards can leap as far as 50 feet—the length of a humpback whale.
These cats are excellent climbers. Using their large paws and sharp claws, they can even hang upside down beneath tree branches.
A jaguar’s jaws are strong enough to crack open tortoise shells—helping it get to one of its favorite treats.
In the Trees
Leopards can stalk their prey—including antelopes and gazelles—drag it up, and eat it all in trees. This keeps their food safe from scavengers like hyenas.
Also known as mountain lions, panthers, and pumas, this secretive cat’s range stretches from the southern tip of South America up to the edge of the Yukon, a wild territory in northwest Canada.
Text by Allyson Shaw, NGS Staff
Photo credits: Cafebeanz Company, Dreamstime (lion); Konmesa, Dreamstime (tiger); Stu Porter, Dreamstime (cheetah); Teresa Kenney, Dreamstime (clouded leopard); Stephenmeese, Dreamstime (jaguar); Tschudi, Dreamstime (leopard); Евгений Баранов, Dreamstime (cougar); Philip Dalton, Alamy Stock Photo (snow leopard)