The feline family is one of the most agile species found in the animal kingdom.
Known for their unique sense of smell and hunting abilities, the cats of the animal kingdom are also one of the most feared predators in the wild. It is not surprising that they have become one of the most revered animals in ancient societies particularly within the Egyptian society.
Undeniably, the cats are one of the most fascinating creatures that ever prowled the Earth. From its striking patterns to its master for stealth, here are the top ten kings of the jungle that belong to the feline family.
1. Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Also known as the Amur Tiger, this subspecies from the tiger family can be found in the Sihkote Alin mountain region in the Russian Far East. Along with the Bengal tiger, it is considered one of the biggest living cats in the world. Today, it is one of the most stably populated species in the wild.
It’s fur color ranges from the reddish-rusty to rusty yellow in color with narrow, black transverse stripes. It can grow not less than 60 inches and is typically bigger than the Bengal tiger.
How big they are—423kg, 931 pounds or 58.2 bowling balls.
2. Lion (Panthera leo)
Known as the King of the Jungle, the lion places second to the tiger as one of the biggest felines in the wild. Lion coloration varies greatly from light buff to yellowish or reddish, which sometimes has ochraceous brown. The lions are one of the few animals in the wild who possess a distinct characteristic from the male and female ones.
The male lions are mostly known for the mane that grows around their head when they reach adulthood. Unlike the tigers, the lions make their home in the plains and savanna in the African continent.
How big they are—272 kg, 598 pounds or 37.4 bowling balls.
3. Jaguar (Panthera onca)
A feline species that is native to the Americas, the jaguar is one of the most beautiful felines in the wild due to its spotted markings. Although closely resembling the leopard physically, the jaguar is sturdier in build and closer in terms of behavior to that of the tiger. A feline the greatly enjoys swimming, the jaguar is solitary in nature and is known as a stalk-and-ambush predator. Today the jaguar belongs to the near threatened species due to loss and fragmentation of their habitat.
How big they are—136kg, 299 pounds or 18.7 bowling balls.
4. Cougar (aka Puma and Mountain Lion) (Puma concolor)
Commonly known as the puma, the cougar makes a home in the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America. Also recognized as the second heaviest cat in the world, the jaguar is also one of the cat species that are secretive and largely solitary by nature. Closely related to our very own pet cats, the cougar is both a nocturnal and crepuscular creature.
How big they are—120kg, 264 pounds or 16.5 bowling balls.
5. Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia)
Known as the national heritage animal of Pakistan, the snow leopard makes its home in the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to its dwindling numbers. Its global population is currently between 4,000 and 6,000 adults, but just a few of them are capable of being able to reproduce in the wild.
How big they are—75kg, 165 pounds or 10.3 bowling balls.
6. Leopard (Panthera pardus)
The leopard lives in the regions of the sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, to Siberia. This creature is mostly recognized for its long body, short legs, and a large skull. Quite similar in appearance to the jaguar, the leopard is slightly smaller in in terms of built and its spots are smaller and more densely packed than the jaguar.
Considered to be one of the most highly successful predators in the wild, it owes its success to the camouflaged fur and opportunistic hunting behavior. It even has the ability to climb trees as well. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are declining because of habitat and pest control and illegal hunting for their pelt.
How big they are—65kg, 143 pounds or 8.9 bowling balls.
7. Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
The cheetah is the known as the fastest animal in the animal kingdom as they can reach speed of up to 109.4 to 120.7 km/h. It can cover a distance of up to 500 m in short bursts and can accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h in three seconds. This cat is also notable for its semi-retractable claws.
In the wild, the cheetah is a prolific breeder, with up to nine cubs in a litter but does poorly in captivity. The cheetah is currently listed as a vulnerable species due to various threats, which include loss of habitat and prey and illegal pet trade. A charismatic species, this feline species is considered to be “ambassadors” for wildlife conservation in general.
How big they are—54 kg, 119 pounds or 7.4 bowling balls.
8. Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
The Eurasian lynx is the largest lynx species and ranges from 31 to 51 inches and can stand at 24–30 inches at the shoulder. During summer, the Eurasian lynx has a short, reddish or brown coat while during winter the fur becomes thicker and varies from silver-grey to greyish brown. Their fur is almost marked with black spots but can vary in number and pattern.
They are notable for their range of vocalizations but are quite silent outside the breeding season. Perhaps one of the most unique attributes that these wild cats possess are their short bobbed tail with an all-black tip, a long grey-and-white ruff, and black tufts of hair on its ears.
How big they are—36kg, 79 pounds or 4.9 bowling balls.
9. Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)
These beautifully marked cats in the wild are known for their dark grey or ochreous ground color, which is largely decorated by black and dark dusky-colored blotched patterns that can be found on the head and the ears. They have short and stout legs yet have broad paws. Their hind legs are longer than their front limbs, which allow for increased jumping and leaping capabilities.
They are also one of the few cat species who are capable of scaling trees with ease. With exceptionally large canine teeth, they are often referred to as the “modern day saber tooth.”
How big they are—23kg, 51 pounds or 3.2 bowling balls.
10. Caracal (Caracal caracal)
Caracals are widely recognized for the long black tufts at the back of their ears, which are roughly 1.75 inches long. Often referred to as the desert lynx, its fur color can range from tawny brown to brick red but have surprisingly white fur on the abdomen, chin and throat. Known as nocturnal hunters, the caracal is the largest of Africa’s “small cats.”
Although solitary by nature, some caracals would often stay in pairs. With powerful hind legs that can leap up to 9 ft to catch birds in flight, the caracals are very efficient hunters.
How big they are—19kg, 42 pounds or 2.6 bowling balls.