The family of big cats is a topic of interest for wildlife lovers. The big cats include lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, and panthers.
The big cat family depends mostly on meat and is called a carnivore. The two members of this family, leopard and panther, are often confused with one another. However, they have differences.
The leopard is the smallest member of the family of big cats and is characterized by a long body and tail, short legs, powerful jaws, and body muscles.
The panther is a term used to refer to all the members of this family, especially the ones with the melanin pigment that gives them either black or white color.
- Leopard and panther are two terms used to describe the same big cat species, Panthera pardus; “panther” is typically used to refer to the black variant of the leopard.
- Leopards are a highly adaptable species found in various habitats across Africa and Asia; panthers are most commonly found in tropical rainforests.
- Leopards have a distinctive spotted coat pattern that helps them blend into their environment; panthers have a melanistic (black) coat colour that provides camouflage in dark forested areas.
Leopard vs Panther
Both leopards and panthers belong to the big cats family, carnivores. Leopards are easily differentiated due to their large skull, small legs, and long body. At the same time, Panthers are referred to as all members of the big cat family, especially spotted ones. Leopards are found in Africa, India, Siberia, and Pakistan, while Panthers are found in Asia, Africa, and America.
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|Parameter of Comparison||Leopard||Panther|
|Refers to||The word leopard is used to refer to the smallest member belonging to the family of big cats.||The word panther refers to all family members of big cats, especially dark-colored or black cats.|
|Origin of the word||The word leopard came into existence after combining the Greek words for panther and lion.||The word Panther is a combination of the two words of the Greek language. The word is made of “pan,” which means all, and “ther,” which means beast of prey.|
|Characteristics||Leopards have long bodies, short, stocky legs, powerful jaws, strong scapular muscles, long tails, and large skulls. Their maximum length is around six feet and they usually weigh around 100 pounds.||Long slender bodies, shiny furs, spots, emerald green eyes, and hind legs characterize panthers. The panthers are larger than the leopards. They may weigh up to 350 pounds.|
|Types of habitats||Leopards inhabit the rainforests, deserts, mountains, and Savannah tree lines.||Panthers inhabit tropical forests, grasslands, marshlands, swamplands, mountains, and deserts.|
|Found in||Leopards are found in India, Malaysia, Indochina, Korea, Siberia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan, and China.||Panthers are the natives of Asia, America, and Africa. They are found in large numbers in India, Nepal, and China.|
What is Leopard?
The word Leopard was made after combining the words for lions and panthers from Greek. The word refers to the smallest member of the family of big cats. Leopards are known for their tree-climbing ability.
A leopard is characterized by their long body, short, stocky legs, powerful jaws, strong scapular muscles, long tail, and large skull.
The furs of a leopard are yellowish-brown in color and have dark spots. The maximum length of a leopard can be up to six feet, and can weigh up to 100 pounds.
Leopards inhabit the rainforests, mountains, deserts, and Savannah tree lines. They are found in India, Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Siberia, Indochina, South Africa, Central America, China, and Pakistan.
What is Panther?
The word panther is made by combining the two words with distinct meanings; the first is “pan,” meaning all or everything, and the other is “ther,” which means beast of the prey.
The word panther is used to refer to all the members of the big cat family. The panthers are termed clever hunters.
A panther is characterized by a long and slender body, emerald green eyes, hind legs, and melanin pigment, due to which they get either black or white color. The furs of a leopard are shiny and have spots.
The size of a panther is larger than that of a leopard. A panther can weigh up to 350 pounds.
Panthers inhabit tropical forests, grasslands, swamplands, marshlands, mountains, and deserts. Panthers are the natives of Asia, America, and Africa. A great population is found in India, Nepal, and China.
Main Differences Between Leopard and Panther
- The word leopard refers to the smallest family of big cats, while the word panther refers to all the family members of big cats, especially the black and white panthers.
- The leopard is a distinct species, while the term panther does not represent a distinct species; however, it is used to refer to melanin-containing big cats.
- The leopards are smaller in size than the other members of the family; on the other hand, the panthers are larger than the leopards.
- The maximum weight of a leopard can be up to 100 pounds; on the other hand, the panthers may weigh around three and half times that of a leopard, and their maximum weight can be up to 350 pounds.
- The furs of a leopard are yellowish-brown and have black spots; on the other hand, the furs of a panther are shiny black or white.
- Leopards are the inhabitants of the rainforests, while Panthers are the inhabitants of the tropical forests.
- Leopards are known as tree climbers, whereas Panthers are known for their aggressiveness and clever hunting.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.