The Panther (also commonly known as the Black Panther) is a large member of the Big Cat family, native to Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Black cats have long intrigued us, from comic book heroes to symbols of superstition. They’re also more common than you might think: At least 14 of the 35-plus species of wildcat—including jaguars, leopards, and bobcats—can carry a gene that causes melanism, or a surplus of melanin, or pigment, in the cat’s fur.
The typical head and body length of a leopard is between 37 and 65 inches, while the tail can be between 24 and 43 inches. The shoulder height is 18 to 31 inches. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 66 to 200 pounds, compared to 51 to 130 pounds for females. Melanotic leopards (very dark brown) are commonly called black panthers. However, there is no such animal. The dark color, called melanism, is due to a recessive gene. Melanotic cubs can be born to spotted parents. Although melanotic, the black leopard has the same pattern of spots as any other leopard. There are no solid-black big cats. “Panther” is a Latin word used to describe the genus and species of many large cats. For example, the scientific species name of a lion is Panther lion, while that of a tiger is Panther tigers.
The recessive gene responsible for melanism is much more common in leopard populations living in forest and mountain areas. In order for the prey to remain intact, leopards drag it to the trees. This procedure is done with incredible ease. Scientists at zoos have found that when spotted leopards are crossed with black ones, kittens of both types are born in approximately equal proportions, and black parents produce mostly black offspring.