The Florida panther, Florida’s state animal, is one of the most endangered mammals on earth. It is tawny brown on the back and pale gray underneath. The Florida panther is one of 30 Puma concolor subspecies known by many names – puma, cougar, mountain lion, painter, catamount and panther.
© U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Florida panthers primarily eat white-tailed deer. They are also known to eat feral hog, rabbit, raccoon, armadillo and birds. When people who live near panthers leave their pets and small livestock out in the open at night, panthers have been known to take these animals opportunistically.
Estimated at 100-160 adults in the only known breeding population (South Florida).
Historically ranged across the southeastern United States including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and parts of Tennessee and South Carolina. Now, the breeding population of Florida Panthers is found only in the southern tip of Florida, south of the Caloosahatchee River. In recent years, young male panthers have traveled as far as northeast Florida. Females do not roam as widely.
Panthers are habitat generalists, meaning that they use a variety of habitat types, including forests, prairies and swamps.
They are solitary and territorial animals that travel hundreds of miles within their home range. Panthers are mostly active between dusk and dawn, and rest during the heat of the day. Males have a home range of 200 square miles and females about 75 square miles.
Panthers are usually quiet, but they do communicate through vocalizations. Sounds they make have been described as chirps, peeps, whistles, purrs, moans, screams, growls, and hisses. Females signal their readiness to mate by yowling or caterwauling.
Mating Season: Throughout the year with a peak in winter/spring.
Gestation: About 90 days.
Litter size: 1-4 kittens.
Rarely do all kittens survive. Kittens are born with dark spots that soon fade away as they become adults. They stay with their mother for up to two years.