Florida Panther

Scientific Name: Puma concolor

Habitat

Historically, these felines ranged across the southeastern United States and as far west as Texas. Now, the breeding population is found only in the southern tip of Florida, with a few young males traveling into northeast Florida.

Refuges where the Florida panther can be found:

Status:

ENDANGERED

The Florida panther is one of the most imperiled creatures on the planet, with only about 100 animals remaining. The cat has been protected from hunting since 1958, and it was added to the endangered species list in 1967.

Description

One of more than 20 subspecies of cougar, this beautiful cat has a tawny brown back, creamy white underbelly, and a black tipped tail and set of ears. Florida panthers are generalists, living in a variety of habitats including forests, prairies and swamps. Like most cats, they are solitary hunters and are most active during dawn and dusk. These cats will stalk their prey by moving silently and then springing for the kill with their front claws extended. They are strict carnivores, primarily feasting on white-tailed deer, but also eating rabbits, raccoons, armadillos, birds and other creatures.

Florida panther at Florida Panther NWR | Fish and Wildlife Service
Florida panther at Florida Panther NWR | Fish and Wildlife Service

Panthers use vocalizations and scent markings to communicate with one another. They lack the ability to roar, but they do make many distinct sounds such as growls, whistles, peeps and moans.

These cats are polygamous, having multiple mates throughout a breeding season. The female panther is solely responsible for raising her litter of one to four kittens. Panthers will live to be about 12 years old in the wild and 16 or more in captivity.

These endangered animals have only two natural predators: alligators and humans. Besides predation, the biggest threat to their survival is human interference. Their small population has led to inbreeding, which has caused health problems. Climate change, habitat fragmentation and loss, and collisions with vehicles also pose serious threats to the panther.

What NWRA is doing:

Beyond the Boundaries: Everglades

Help us protect the Everglades, where the Florida panther and many other species live. The Florida Everglades is part of our Beyond the Boundaries program. The Greater Everglades landscape, which extends from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in the north to Big Cypress National Preserve in the south, contains dry prairies, longleaf pine savannas, expansive working ranch lands and seasonally wet grasslands. This relatively intact landscape serves as a home and a corridor for more than 30 threatened and endangered species, including the endangered Florida panther. Learn more.

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/wildlife/mammals/florida-panther/