Hello and welcome to another blog by Dan DeFreest for T.I.G.E.R.S. in Beautiful Myrtle Beach South Carolina.
Here is a riddle for you: When is a black panther not a black panther?
Answer…when It’s a black leopard, or cougar, or a black jaguar. Confused? Actually, the term panther is Greek in origin, pan meaning “all” and thera means “prey”, in other words, it means a hunter of all prey.
Although all big cats are called panthers, the term panther is usually used to describe big cats that have melanism which refers to the dark pigment of their fur. If you look closely at these cats, you can make out the typical markings which are obscured by the dark coloring.
So, why are so many different cats called the same thing? The answer is geography, in Africa and Asia black leopards are referred to as black panthers, in Latin American black jaguars are known as black panthers and in North America, it’s the black cougar that is called a black panther, although there have never been any documented sightings of a black panther in the wild in North America.
Some purists will no doubt argue whether it’s correct to call a black leopard or a black jaguar a black panther, if you showed a picture of either to the average person, they would no-doubt call it a black panther. But, now you know the difference.
To learn more interesting facts and anecdotes about big exotic cats, check out our website or better yet, come visit us at T.I.G.E.R.S. in Myrtle Beach. – By Dan Defreest