Wednesday 14 December 2011

Are leopards and panthers the same?

ANSWER: Yes. These days "panther" is a generic term that usually refers to "black panthers", melanistic large wildcats such as the leopard and jaguar. In the 1800s scientists had thought that there was a species of wildcat that they called the panther and which was different to the leopard. The difference was found to be due to the wide variation in the appearance of the leopard as it grows up. Young leopards look different to adult leopards. It was believed that panthers occupied Africa and leopards lived in India. They were the same cat in fact. The name of the leopard is based on an early belief that this wildcat species was a cross between the lion and the panther: leo + pard.

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