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Panther vs. Puma: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 15, 2024
A Panther is a general term for big cats with black coloration, often leopards or jaguars, while a Puma, also known as a cougar or mountain lion, is a large, tan-colored cat native to the Americas.
Panther vs. Puma

Key Differences

The term 'Panther' is not a distinct species but a general name used to describe big cats, particularly those with melanistic (black) coloration, like leopards in Asia and Africa, or jaguars in the Americas. Pumas, in contrast, are a specific species (Puma concolor) found in the Americas, known for their large size, tan to light brown coloration, and adaptability to diverse environments.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
In terms of physical attributes, Panthers, depending on their actual species, can vary in size and build. Black leopards or jaguars have powerful, muscular bodies and are excellent climbers. Pumas, on the other hand, are among the largest cats in the Americas and are known for their slender bodies, long legs, and exceptional jumping ability.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
The habitat of Panthers again depends on their species. Black leopards are often found in dense forests and jungles in Asia and Africa, while black jaguars inhabit rainforests in South and Central America. Pumas have a much broader range, spanning from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes in South America, and are found in various environments, including forests, mountains, and deserts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
Regarding behavior, Panthers (as leopards or jaguars) are solitary, stealthy predators, often hunting at night. Pumas, similarly solitary, are also apex predators and primarily hunt at dusk or dawn. Both are territorial and skilled hunters, but their hunting techniques and prey vary due to their different habitats.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
Conservation statuses of these animals also differ. Panthers, particularly the leopard and jaguar, face threats like habitat loss and poaching, and their conservation status varies by region. Pumas, however, are listed as a species of least concern, although certain populations are facing habitat fragmentation and conflict with humans.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 15, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Species

General term for melanistic big cats (e.g., leopards, jaguars)
A specific species, Puma concolor
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Habitat

Dense forests and jungles (Asia, Africa for leopards; Americas for jaguars)
Wide range including forests, mountains, deserts in the Americas
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Coloration

Black (due to melanism)
Tan to light brown
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Size and Build

Varies by actual species (leopard or jaguar)
Large, slender body with long legs
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Behavior

Solitary, nocturnal predators
Solitary, crepuscular predators
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Panther and Puma Definitions

Panther

Represents power, courage, and mystery in various cultures.
The black panther is a symbol of strength in our folklore.
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Jan 07, 2024

Puma

A large cat native to the Americas, also known as a cougar or mountain lion.
We spotted a puma while hiking in the Rockies.
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Panther

A melanistic big cat, typically a black leopard or jaguar.
A panther prowled silently in the jungle shadows.
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Puma

Refers to a person with attributes of a puma, such as independence or strength.
As a solo traveler, she's as independent as a puma.
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Panther

Used to describe something dark and powerful.
He moved like a panther, with graceful, yet powerful strides.
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Puma

In Native American cultures, symbolizes power, agility, and leadership.
The puma is revered in our tribe as a powerful spirit animal.
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Panther

Refers to someone with panther-like qualities, such as agility or stealth.
In the business world, she's known as a panther for her sharp strategies.
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Puma

Describes something or someone swift and agile.
He tackled the challenges like a puma, quickly and efficiently.
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Panther

A popular mascot for sports teams.
The Panthers won the championship last night.
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Puma

Often used as a team name or mascot, symbolizing speed and strength.
The Pumas dominated the football field with their quick plays.
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Panther

A large wild cat such as a leopard or jaguar, especially in a color form with black fur.
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Jan 06, 2024

Puma

See cougar.
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Panther

See cougar.
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Puma

A mountain lion or cougar (Puma concolor).
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Panther

Any of various big cats with black fur; most especially, the black-coated leopard of India.
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Puma

(by extension) Any feline belonging to the genus Puma.
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Panther

Any big cat of the genus Panthera.
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Puma

(slang) A woman in her 20s or 30s who seeks relationships with younger men; a younger cougar.
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Panther

A cougar; especially the Florida panther.
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Puma

A large American carnivore (Felis concolor), found from Canada to Patagonia, especially among the mountains. Its color is tawny, or brownish yellow, without spots or stripes. Called also catamount, cougar, American lion, mountain lion, and panther or painter.
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Panther

(slang) A girl, especially a young one, who pursues older men.
Paige is 16 and dates a 19 years old guy, she's such a panther.
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Puma

Large American feline resembling a lion
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Panther

A creature resembling a big cat with a multicolored hide, found in Ancient Greek mythology.
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Panther

A large dark-colored variety of the leopard, by some Zoologists considered a distinct species. It is marked with large ringlike spots, the centers of which are darker than the color of the body.
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Panther

In America, the name is applied to the puma, or cougar, and sometimes to the jaguar.
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Panther

A large spotted feline of tropical America similar to the leopard; in some classifications considered a member of the genus Felis
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Panther

A leopard in the black color phase
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Panther

Large American feline resembling a lion
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What color are panthers?

Panthers are typically black due to melanism.
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Jan 15, 2024

What is a puma?

A puma is a large cat species native to the Americas, also known as a cougar or mountain lion.
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Jan 15, 2024

What is a panther?

Panther is a term used for melanistic (black) big cats, mainly black leopards or jaguars.
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Jan 15, 2024

Are panthers a separate species?

No, panthers are not a distinct species; they are melanistic versions of species like leopards or jaguars.
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Jan 15, 2024

Do panthers only live in Africa and Asia?

Black leopards (panthers) live in Africa and Asia, while black jaguars (panthers) are found in the Americas.
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Jan 15, 2024

Are pumas good climbers?

Yes, pumas are excellent climbers and often use trees for scouting and resting.
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Where do pumas live?

Pumas have a wide range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes in South America.
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How big can pumas get?

Pumas are among the largest cats in the Americas and can weigh up to 220 pounds.
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Do pumas live in groups?

No, pumas are solitary animals except during mating or when females are raising cubs.
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What habitats do panthers prefer?

Panthers, as leopards or jaguars, prefer dense forests and jungles.
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Can panthers be found in the wild?

Yes, melanistic leopards and jaguars can be found in the wild, although they are rare.
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How do pumas communicate?

Pumas communicate through vocalizations, scent markings, and body language.
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Can panthers be kept as pets?

No, it is illegal and unsafe to keep panthers as pets.
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What is the biggest threat to pumas?

Habitat loss and fragmentation are significant threats to puma populations.
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Are panthers endangered?

The conservation status of panthers depends on their specific species; leopards and jaguars face various threats.
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Do panthers roar?

As leopards and jaguars, panthers can roar, a trait unique to the genus Panthera.
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What do pumas eat?

Pumas are carnivores and primarily hunt deer, elk, and other large mammals.
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What is the lifespan of a panther?

The lifespan of a panther varies but generally aligns with that of leopards or jaguars, around 12-15 years.
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Are pumas dangerous to humans?

While generally avoiding humans, pumas can be dangerous if cornered or if they feel their cubs are threatened.
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How far can pumas jump?

Pumas are known for their ability to jump high and far, up to 15 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally.
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Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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