Difference Between Cougar and Panther

Main Difference – Cougar vs Panther

Both cougar and panther are two big cats belonging to same Family Felidae but considered as two genera. These cats are carnivores and found in only certain regions of the world. The main difference between cougar and panther is that the cougar is a distinctive species native to Americas and panthers are distributed in Asia, Africa, and America. In addition, many differences that can be observed between cougar and panther can be used to distinguish these two cats from each other. These differences will be highlighted in this article in detail.

This article explores
     1. Cougar
           – Facts, Features, and Behaviour
     2. Panther
           – Facts, Features, and Behaviour
     3. Difference Between Cougar and Panther

Difference between Cougar and Panther - Comparison Summary (1)

Cougar – Facts, Features, and Behaviour

Cougar is often called the cat with many names because people in different regions use different names including puma, mountain lion, catamount etc. for this animal. Cougars are native to South and Western North America. The physical appearance of a cougar is more similar to a domestic cat but larger than a domestic cat. Cougar is the fourth biggest feline in the Family Felidae and the second largest cat in the Americas. A male cougar normally weighs over 200 lbs and is about 8 feet long from nose to tail. Cougars are athletes and can climb well. They can leap about 16 feet high from the ground. They prefer to live in grasslands, but they may also inhabit many other areas such as swamps, deserted areas, mountain meadows, forests etc. They have an amazing ability to adapt almost any type of habitat. In addition, cougars have an excellent sense of hearing and sharp eyesight, which make them excellent hunters in the above-mentioned habitats. They usually prey on large mammals including deer, elk, moose and stray wolves.

Cougars are solitary animals and always try to avoid human contacts. Each adult has its own territory. The life span of a cougar is usually 20 years. They can have 1-4 cubs, but the number depends on the availability of food, water and on the environmental conditions.

Difference Between Cougar and Panther

Panther – Facts, Features, and Behaviour

Panther is a large cat found in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. It is not a distinct species unlike cougar; the term panther is often used to refer to black large cats including leopards and jaguars. Panthers are extremely powerful carnivores with immense abilities to survive in many habitats in the world. They are one of the strongest climbers of all felines. Panthers are usually brown to black in color. However, Florida panther is one exceptional species that has spotted skin.  This species is believed to be a subspecies of cougar. Unlike leopards and jaguars, the dotted fur is not very noticeable in panthers. Panthers have strong jaws and emerald green eyes. Their hind legs are larger and little longer than front legs. The terrifying roar of panthers is not seen among most of the other big cats in the family. Panthers are solitary nocturnal hunters and mainly prey on deer, tapir and wild boar. The life span of a panther is about 12 to 15 years.

Main Difference - Cougar vs Panther

Difference Between Cougar and Panther


Cougars: Cougars are native to North and South America.

Panthers: Panthers are found in Asia, Africa, and Americas.

Cougar is distinctive species, whereas panther is often referred to as dark colored cats, most notably, jaguars and leopards.


Cougars: Cougar is of the Puma genus.

Panthers: Panther is of the Panthera genus.


Cougars: Cougars have tan to brown fur without spots.

Panthers: Panthers have dark brown to black fur. Spots may not noticeable very easily.


Cougars: Cougars mainly live in grasslands, forests, and mountains.

Panthers: Panthers mainly live in forests, swamplands, and grasslands.

Weight of an Adult Male

Cougars: Cougars weigh about 200 lbs.

Panthers: Panthers weigh about 350 lbs.

Conservation Status

Cougars: Cougars fall under least concerned status. 

Panthers: Panthers are a threatened species.


Cougars: Cougars live up to 10-20 years.

Panthers: Panthers live up to 12-15 years.

Distinctive Features

Cougars: Cougars have powerful front arms, large hind paws, and a muscular jaw.

Panthers: Panthers have bright emerald green eyes.


Cougars: Cougars do not have a terrifying roar.

Panthers: Panthers have a terrifying roar.


“Panther.” (Panthera Pardus, Panthera Onca) – Animals – A-Z Animals. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

Person, Stephen. Cougar: A Cat with Many Names. N.p.: Bearport Publishing, 2012. Print.

Stone, Lynne M. Cougars: Early bird nature books. N.p.: Lerner Publications, 1997. Print.

Image Courtesy:

“Male & female Panther at Rhino & Lion nature Reserve, Kromdraai – South Africa” By Gary1554 – via

“MountainLion” via  

About the Author: Yashoda

Yashoda has been a freelance writer in the field of biology for about four years. He is an expert in conducting research related to polymer chemistry and nano-technology. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Applied Science and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry.

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