Big Cats Facts

Learn more about these fierce felines!

  • The cheetah is the world's fastest land mammal. It can run at speeds of up to 70 miles an hour (113 kilometers an hour).

  • Cheetahs do not roar, as the other big cats do. Instead, they purr.

  • In one stride, a cheetah can cover 23 to 26 feet.

  • In the wild, lions live for an average of 12 years and up to 16 years. They live up to 25 years in captivity.

  • An adult lion's roar can be heard up to five miles away.

  • Lions are the only cats that live in groups, called prides. Every female within the pride is usually related.

  • Unlike other cats, lions have a tuft of hair at the end of their tails.

  • A tiger's stripes are like fingerprints—no two animals have the same pattern.

  • Tigers are excellent swimmers and do not avoid water.

  • Tigers have been hunted for their skin, bones, and other body parts, used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • Mountain lions are strong jumpers, thanks to muscular hind legs that are longer than their front legs.

  • After humans, mountain lions have the largest range of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere.

  • The mountain lion and the cheetah share an ancestor.

  • The name "jaguar" comes from a Native American word meaning "he who kills with one leap."

  • Fossil records from two million years ago show evidence of jaguars.

  • The leopard is the most widespread of all big cats.

  • The strongest climber among the big cats, a leopard can carry prey twice its weight up a tree.

  • Long, muscular hind legs enable snow leopards to leap seven times their own body length in a single bound.

  • The Amur leopard is one of the most endangered animals in the world.

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