Environment

The World's Largest Big Cats

The following is a table presenting the largest big cats found in the animal kingdom.

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Initially, the term "big cat" represented the four large wild cats of tigers, lions, leopards, and jaguars that belong to the genus Panthera. The big cats in this definition roar unlike those included in the modern, more liberal definition. Big cats, however, display similar structural and behavioral patterns and are predatory carnivores. Their advanced predatory behaviors place them at the top of the food web in their respective habitats and ecosystems. Big cats are also among the top tourist attractions in countries where they are found.

The Largest Big Cats in the World

What's the Biggest Cat in the World?

The liger is a hybrid developed by breeding a male lion and a female tiger. THe hybrid is the largest big cat in the world, weighing about 795 lb – almost double the weight of either a lion or tiger. Ligers may reach an outstanding length of about six feet.

Initially, the term "big cat" represented the four large wild cats - tigers, lions, leopards, and jaguars that belong to the genus Panthera. The big cats in this definition roar unlike those included in the modern, more liberal definition. Big cats, however, display similar structural and behavioral patterns and are predatory carnivores. Their advanced predatory behaviors place them at the top of the food web in their respective habitats and ecosystems. Big cats are also among the top tourist attractions in countries where they are found.

1. Liger

The liger is a hybrid developed by breeding a male lion and a female tiger. They are mostly found in zoos. The hybrid is the largest big cat in the world weighing about 795lb - almost double the weight of either a lion or tiger. Ligers may reach an outstanding length of 11 to 12ft and a height of about 6ft. Ligers have the blended appearance of the tiger and the lion with stripes on the tawny-colored coat and mane in males. The US has about 40 ligers, which is the largest population in the world, followed by China. Most countries and naturalists oppose the crossbreeding of lions and tigers.

2. Siberian tiger

The Siberian tiger (Amur leopard cat) is the second-largest big cat and the biggest one that occurs in nature. The Siberian tiger males can weigh as much as 700 lb and attain a length and height of about 3ft and 3.2ft respectively. Siberian tigers have a reddish or yellowish rusty coat covered in black diagonal stripes. The Siberian tiger is an endangered species according to the IUCN due to hunting and habitat destruction. The Siberian tiger occupies the mountain region of Sikhote Alin with fewer members in China.

3. Bengal tiger

The Bengal tiger is the third-largest member of the big cat family with their males weighing an average of 569lb. The endangered Bengal tiger has a yellow to light orange coat covered with black or dark brown stripes, an orange tail, and white belly and inner parts of the legs. Males reach an average height of about 3ft. The solitary animal hunts for large mammals particularly the chital, sambar, and gaur. The Bengal tiger sometimes hunts water buffalos, takin, livestock, and medium-sized prey such as the hog deer.

4. Lion

The lion is the fourth largest big cat member with males weighing an average of 418lb with a length of about 4-5ft. The population of the lions has declined steadily in the African range prompting the IUCN to categorize the cat as a vulnerable species while those in India are endangered. The manes distinguish male lions. Lions are predatory carnivores hunting from dusk to dawn in groups. Wildebeest, zebras, buffalos, giraffes, deer, the wild boar, and the gemsbok make up most of the mammalian diet of the lion. Lionesses within the pride are responsible for hunting while the males guard their territory and catch.

Other big cats include the jaguar, cougar, leopard, cheetah, and the snow leopard.

Threats To Big Cats

Most of the big cats are a target for hunters and poachers, making many of them endangered species. The big cat family may be killed during sports hunting, poaching for skin, and during animal-human conflicts.

Wild Cats By Size

RankBig Cat NameAverage Size (Males, lb)
1Liger795
2Siberian tiger700
3Bengal tiger569
4Lion418
5Jaguar326
6Cougar220
7Leopard198
8Cheetah159
9Snow leopard121
10Eurasian lynx66
11Desert lynx66
12Sunda clouded leopard57
13Clouded Leopard51
14Caracal40
15Canada lynx40
16Serval40
17African golden cat35
18Asian golden cat 33
19Marbled cat11

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