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Posted by on Apr 24, 2020 in TellMeWhy |

What Are Black Panthers and Are They Friendly?

What Are Black Panthers and Are They Friendly?

Black panther, a big cat (of any species, but most commonly a jaguar or a leopard) whose coloration is entirely black. This may have originated from the Latin name Panthera for the big cats and was probably shortened from Black Panthera to Black Panther. In addition, the term is sometimes used to describe dark-coloured bobcats, lynx, jaguarundis, tigers, and pumas (cougars), even though reports of black-coloured representatives of some species, such as the puma, have not been confirmed.

Black coat coloration is attributed to the expression of recessive alleles in leopards and dominant alleles in jaguars. In each species, a certain combination of alleles stimulates the production of large amounts of the dark pigment melanin in the animal’s fur and skin. Although melanin concentrations often vary between members of the same litter, individuals displaying completely black coats are rare.

The appearance of a black coat may be influenced by other factors, such as the angle of incident light and the animal’s life stage. For example, some melanistic leopards and jaguars display totally black coats, because the finer details of their fur may be masked by diffuse light. In full sunlight, however, the faint spotted pattern of the coat may emerge. Also, blackened or near-blackened coats may result from the retention of black spots from the juvenile stage, which may complement other concentrations of dark-coloured fur, into adulthood. In other species, such as lynx, the appearance of black or near-black fur might also be explained by seasonal colour changes.

Black panthers are great swimmers and are one of the strongest tree climbing big cats, often pouncing on prey from a tree, they are capable of leaping up to 20 feet to catch their prey which includes medium sized animals like deer and monkeys and smaller rabbits and birds. Black panthers have good hearing, extremely good eyesight, and a strong jaw. The black panther is often called ‘the ghost of the forest’. It is a smart, stealth-like attacker, its dark coat helps it hide and stalk prey very easily, especially at night.

They are also much more unpredictable and aggressive. Although in some cultures people believe that black panthers are dangerous animals, this isn’t true. Panthers only attack if they feel threatened, so if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone, poaching has made them very fearful of humans. Therefore, they may defend themselves against possible attacks, just as any animal would.

Content for this question contributed by Ella Santoyo, resident of Kirkwood, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA