Beautiful and big cats
Big cats - this is the big cats. However, few know that the main criterion for belonging to the big cats is not the size, and structure.
So, to the big cats are a lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, snow leopard and clouded leopard, but oddly enough, it does not include species such as the puma, and cheetah.
Let's take a closer look at these most beautiful and graceful predators in the wild.
A lion. King of beasts. He is one of four members of the genus Panther belonging to the subfamily of big cats. Also, the second highest after the tiger cat - males can weigh up to 250 kg. But at the height of the shoulders of a lion he holds the record among all felines.
This species evolved in Africa about 800,000 - 1 million years ago.
The appearance of a lion has specific characteristics:. Males are considerably larger than females and have a luxurious mane of up to 40 cm more, none of the cat is nothing like it. Mane lion enlarges in size, and also helps to intimidate other males and attract females, who prefer "men" with a luxurious head of hair.
As a lion and a lioness at the end of the tail has a furry bundle of -. "Brush" about 5 cm long at birth is missing and begins to appear at about 5 months of age.
The traditional color of a lion usually yellow-gray of various shades, mane of the same color as the skin, but is dark, even black.
In the late 20th century there were evidence of the existence of white lions. Prior to that, for hundreds of years, they were regarded as creatures of legend, traveling to South Africa.
This is a very rare cat.
The Lions -.. It's apex predator, ie, take in the food chain up position. However, apart from the person there is another predator, which can pose a threat to a lion - a crocodile. In the collision of these two species are able to cause one another a very serious injury. Each of the representatives of the attacks in their own environment. Lions are able to attack the crocodile, when they get out on the land, whereas the ancient reptiles are attacking lions when they go into the water.
Unlike other cats, they do not live alone, and in special family packs - Pride. Hunting and procuring of food usually involved females, which the Group operates. Males engaged in the protection of the territory, expelling them from intruders. Another reason why males do not hunt - mane, which can interfere with the disguise.
lion's fangs have a length of 8 cm, so these cats can kill quite large animals. Despite the fact that the lioness is very sharp teeth extraction in most cases killed via suffocation.
In nature, the life expectancy of lions from 10 to 15 years in captivity can live for over 20 years. However, males seldom live more than 10 years, since the constant fights with other lions significantly reduce their life expectancy.
Unfortunately, these big cats are vulnerable species due to an irreversible reduction in the number of their population. Over the past 20 years the number of lions in Africa has decreased by 35-50%.
This predator is the third largest in the world, and the largest cat in the New World. One of the four members of the genus Panther. It has a body whose length without tail normally 120-185 cm and weight in some cases up to 120 kg. Record in nature is 158 kg. Guaraní (yaguara) means "a beast that kills in a single bound."
The oldest remains date from the jaguar late Pliocene (approximately 2 million. Years). The morphological features jaguar most closely akin associated with the leopard, is very similar to it, but the larger and heavier.
In traditional color jaguar close to the sandy. On the body are scattered spots that are darker than the overall body of background: solid, ring and socket. There are also completely black jaguars, m so they are similar in appearance to the Panthers.
In contrast to the lion jaguar - predator-single. Like all cats, jaguars are territorial predators; hunting area of the jaguar covers 25-100 square meters. km., and depending on the terrain and the amount of extraction is usually triangle.
Jaguar - a twilight predator. He hunts after sunset and before sunrise. The main prey of the jaguar are capybaras and ungulates such as deer and peccaries, although he hunts and turtles: its powerful jaws are capable to crack even the shell. When attacking the cat tries a major blow to injure the victim at the time of the fall. This hunter one throw: if production took to his heels, Jaguar had never been pursued.
The main method of hunting jaguar - an ambush on a tree or in tall grass. Also, the production will not be able to escape into the water - Jaguars great swim.
In a large part of their former habitat of this species is almost or completely cut off. Jaguar made to the International Red Book.
Habitat of the snow leopard or snow leopard - a Central Asian mountains. It's a pretty big cat, leopard but smaller, with a long, flexible body, relatively short legs and a very long tail. Length including tail - 200-230 cm; weight - 55 kg. Recent studies show that snow leopards are common, probably between 1.2 and 1.4 million years ago.
Snow Leopard has a light smoky gray with a ring and a solid dark spots fur. Since the snow leopard is an inhabitant of the high rocky mountains of Middle and Central Asia, the wool has a very dense, its length on the back reaches 55 mm - it provides protection from the cold, harsh environmental conditions. So, in the Himalayas, the snow leopard met at an altitude of 5400-6000 meters above sea level.
Snow leopards are also solitary lifestyle. In a low number of production area of 1000 square meters. km can live only up to 5 cats. Lair of the snow leopard suits in caves and clefts of the rock.
The snow leopard is able to cope with the production, three times larger than its mass. He hunts in most cases before sunset and at dawn, attacking from behind cover. Large prey snow leopard is trying to grab by the throat, and then suffocate.
At present, the number of snow leopards catastrophically low. In the XX century, this cat has been included in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Red Book of Russia.
Another representative of big cats - leopard. It is much inferior to the size of a lion and the tiger, it is one of four members of the genus panther. Outwardly, it looks like a jaguar, reduced in size. Body length without tail - 190 cm; weight - 75 kg. According to the fossil record, the first ancestor of the leopard appeared in Asia even 3.8 million years ago.
The skin of an animal is a golden background, in which randomly scattered solid or in the form of rings of black spots. Usually winter fur color is paler and duller than in summer. As is the case with the jaguar, in nature (usually in Southeast Asia) meet melanistic leopards, which are called black panthers. Leopard is perhaps one of the most graceful and beautiful cats.
The Leopard - a single and a night animal. He is so deftly climb trees that sometimes catches even monkeys. However, hunting leopard, mainly on the ground, using two stages: extraction to stalk and wait in ambush.
You did not get the production hyenas, leopards dragged her into the trees. Area hunting portion leopard can reach 400 sq. km. depending on the region, the relief and the abundance of prey.
As well as lions and tigers, leopards are among the cannibals; usually old or sick individuals, unable to hunt for the usual prey. Person for the predatory cat is a very easy target. So, in the 20-ies of XX century in India wielded "the Rudraprayag man-eater." On account of this leopard was officially registered 125 cases of murders of people.
Many nations leopard is a symbol of cruelty, ferocity, aggression, fearlessness. Unfortunately, the leopard - it is also an endangered species. In the XX century it was introduced in the IUCN Red List, the Red Book of Russia.
Clouded leopard belongs to the big cats, lives in south-east Asia and vaguely reminiscent of a leopard. This is a fairly ancient form, as well as a possible ancestor of today's big cats.
Clouded leopard is the smallest of the "big cat": its value corresponds to the value of about Shepherd. Body length - 80-100 cm; weight - 21 kg. A characteristic feature of this cat is long tail.
Small but toothy.
The pattern on wool from clouded leopard unusual: on the yellowish background of scattered large, uneven shaped black spots. All kind of relate to the number of standing endangered.
The tiger is the largest and heavy cat, and therefore it is one of the largest terrestrial predators. Gives it weight only white and brown bears, and is one of four members of the genus panther. About 2 million years ago, in the tigers were widespread in Asia.
tiger subspecies vary greatly in size and weight, but the two biggest are Bengal and Amur. Males may be up to 2.4-2.8 meters in length without tail and weigh up to 275 kg, and in some cases up to 300-320 kg. Record captive - 423 kg in Siberian tiger. For comparison, lions weight generally does not exceed 250 kg at about the same length.
All the tiger's body is covered with strips, whose color varies from brown to completely black, and the tail is always ends with a black tip.
Due to the mutation, in nature there are very rare animals - white tigers. The frequency of their occurrence - one fish per 10,000 with normal coloration. This Bengal tiger with black and brown stripes on a white fur and blue eyes. The zoo now holds 130 white tigers:
Even more uncommon change of color - gold. In the zoos of the world there are only 30 gold tigers.
The Tigers - solitary and territorial predators. The area of the male is typically 60-100 sq. km. During the hunt, the Tigers are using two steps: to stalk prey, moving short careful steps, often dropping to the ground, and waiting in ambush.
During the attack, the tiger can reach speeds up to 60 km / h on almost any terrain, as well as jump to a height of 5 meters and 9-10 meters in length. Sometimes the weight of the production of this powerful cat 6-7 times greater than its own.
These majestic cats also belong to endangered species. In XX century, listed in the Red Book of IUCN in the Red Book of Russia.