Big Cats popularly refers to the class of wild animals in the family Felidae, and more specifically the larger species in the genus Panthera. Initially, they consisted of the Lion, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Jaguar but now include also the Cheetah, Clouded Leopard, Cougar, and Sunda Clouded Leopard.

Most big cats can be found in Africa, America, and Asia. These animals are normally large and muscular except for the Cheetah and also portray different behaviors both in the wild, in captivity, and conservatory parks. Big Cats also commonly sport a spotted skin and a skull or face that is flatted or evenly convex. The Lion, Leopard, Tiger, and Jaguar are the only big cats with the ability to roar.

What makes an animal a Panthera?

A Panthera animal is characterized by its specific skull shape that has a flat dorsal profile. All Panthera species also have an incomplete ossified hyoid bone. They have an adapted larynx with larger vocal folds that are covered in a fibro-elastic pad that allows all Panthera species except the snow leopard to roar.

What is the largest Big Cat species?

The largest Big Cat species is the Siberian Tiger which typically weighs a total of 931 pounds and is native to Northeastern China, Korea, Russia, as well as parts of India and the Himalayas. The other large Big Cats species include the Lion, Jaguar, Cougar, and Snow Leopard.

Do all Big Cats purr?

Generally, all Big Cats, which include lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars, cannot purr, but they can roar. Small cats, including bobcats, ocelots, lynxes, cougars, and house cats can purr, but they cannot roar. Roaring and purring allow these species of cats to vocalize and communicate with each other.

Big Cats Guides
Browse through our curated Big Cats Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Big Cats. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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44"-50" | 1.1-1.3 m
54"-78" | 1.4-2 m
270-420 lb | 120-190 kg
10-15 years (wild), 30 (captivity)
African Lion
130.000
200.000
190.000
15.00
449000
3D
African Lion
30”-46” | 76-117 cm
4’7”-6’5” | 1.4-2 m
265-500 lb | 120-250 kg
12-18 years (wild); 18-20 years (captivity)
Asiatic Lion
117.000
200.000
250.000
20.00
7400
3D
Asiatic Lion
34”-45” | 86-114 cm
5’3”-6’5” | 160-196 cm
220-650 lb | 100-295 kg
8-10 years (wild); 18-25 years (captivity)
Bengal Tiger
114.000
196.000
295.000
25.00
45000
3D
Bengal Tiger
Caracal
81000
16”-20” | 41-51 cm
24”-42” | 61-107 cm
15-45 lb | 7-20 kg
10-12 years (wild); 15-20 years (captivity)
Caracal
51.000
107.000
20.000
20.00
81000
3D
Caracal
Cheetah
185000
28”-35” | 70–90 cm
44”-59” | 112-150 cm
77-143 lb | 35-65 kg
10-12 years
Cheetah
90.000
150.000
65.000
10.00
185000
3D
Cheetah
18”-22” | 46-56 cm
27”-43” | 69-109 cm
25-50 lb | 11-23 kg
11-15 years (wild); 17-20 years (captivity)
Clouded Leopard
56.000
109.000
23.000
20.00
30000
3D
Clouded Leopard
Cougar
150000
21”-28” | 53-71 cm
42”-54” | 107-137 cm
65-200 lb | 30-91 kg
10-13 years (wild); Up to 20 years (captivity)
Cougar
71.000
137.000
91.000
20.00
150000
3D
Cougar
Jaguar
407000
27”-31” | 69-79 cm
4’10”-6’ | 147-183 cm
80-250 lb | 36-113 kg
8-15 years (wild); 18-25 years (captivity)
Jaguar
79.000
183.000
113.000
25.00
407000
3D
Jaguar
10”-14” | 25-36 cm
22”-30” | 56-76 cm
6-20 lb | 3-9 kg
10-12 years (wild); Up to 20 years (captivity)
Jaguarundi
36.000
76.000
9.000
20.00
26000
3D
Jaguarundi
Margay
19000
12”-17” | 31-43 cm
18”-31” | 36-79 cm
5-9 lb | 2-4 kg
12-14 years (wild); Up to 24 years (captivity)
Margay
43.000
79.000
4.000
24.00
19000
3D
Margay
Ocelot
137000
15”-20” | 38-51 cm
27”-40” | 69-102 cm
18-40 lb | 8-18 kg
12-15 years (wild); Up to 20 years (captivity)
Ocelot
51.000
102.000
18.000
20.00
137000
3D
Ocelot
Serval
78000
21”-26” | 53-66 cm
23”-36” | 58-91 cm
15-40 lb | 7-18 kg
10-12 years (wild); Up to 20 years (captivity)
Serval
66.000
91.000
18.000
20.00
78000
3D
Serval
30”-42” | 75-107 cm
5’7”-6’10” | 170-208 cm
260-700 lb | 118-318 kg
10-15 years (wild); 20-25 years (captivity)
Siberian Tiger
107.000
208.000
318.000
25.00
49000
3D
Siberian Tiger
22”-26” | 56-66 cm
36”-51” | 91-130 cm
75-120 lb | 34-54 kg
8-15 years (wild); 18-22 years (captivity)
Snow Leopard
66.000
130.000
54.000
22.00
121000
3D
Snow Leopard
Asiatic Lion
Scale illustration of average male and female Asiatic Lions with dimensions for height and length compared to a human

A subspecies of lion, the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo leo) finds its origins in the Middle East and India and inhabits the sanctuary of the Gir Forest National Park. Currently, the population of this subspecies is approximately 500 to 600 living animals.

Differences between the Asiatic lion and the African lion include: shape and bone development of the head, a more moderate mane that leaves the top of the head and the ears exposed, and color variations of tawny to a sandy hue. Male Asiatic lions are solitary, often forming loose prides while female Asiatic lions form stronger and more numbered prides with other female lions and their cubs.

Asiatic Lions have a shoulder height between 30”-46” (76-117 cm), body length of 4’7”-6’5” (1.4-2 m), and weight in the range of 265-500 lb (120-250 kg). The tail of an Asiatic Lion is 30”-40” (76-102 cm) in length. Asiatic Lions have a typical lifespan of 12-18 years in the wild and 18-20 years in captivity.

Collection of scaled drawings of male Asiatic Lions in various poses
A subspecies of lion, the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo leo) finds its origins in the Middle East and India and inhabits the sanctuary of the Gir Forest National Park. Currently, the population of the Asiatic Lion subspecies is approximately 500 to 600 living animals on the planet.

Asiatic Lions have a shoulder height between 30”-46” (76-117 cm), body length of 4’7”-6’5” (1.4-2 m), and weight in the range of 265-500 lb (120-250 kg). The tail of an Asiatic Lion is 30”-40” (76-102 cm) in length. Asiatic Lions have a typical lifespan of 12-18 years in the wild and 18-20 years in captivity.

Collection of scaled drawings of male Asiatic Lions in various poses
Asiatic Lion
Height:
30”-46” | 76-117 cm
Width:
Length:
4’7”-6’5” | 1.4-2 m
Depth:
Withers Height
Weight:
265-500 lb | 120-250 kg
Area:

Male:

Height: 36”-46” | 91-117 cm

Length: 5’6”-6’5” | 1.68-2 m

Weight: 330-500 lb | 150-250 kg



Female:

Height: 30”-40” | 76-102 cm

Length: 4’7”-5’8” | 1.4-1.73 m

Weight: 265-408 lb | 120-185 kg

Tail Length
30”-40” | 76-102 cm
Scientific Name
Panthera leo leo
Lifespan
12-18 years (wild); 18-20 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Asiatic Lion male and female side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (lying down)

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Siberian Tiger
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Siberian Tiger compared to an average person

The Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), also known as the Amur tiger, is the largest subspecies of tiger originating from the Korean Peninsula, the north-eastern parts of China, and eastern Siberia. It has coarse fur in the summer and dense, silky fur in the winter, acclimating the Siberian Tiger to the extreme cold weather of its environment.

The color pattern of the Siberian Tiger is generally paler than that of big cats with narrow black stripes running along its body. Other physical attributes include short, stocky legs, a long tail, and a head similar in size to that of a lion. The Siberian Tiger is a powerful hunter known to travel great distances, capturing prey alone and with stealth.

Siberian Tigers have a shoulder height between 30”-42” (75-107 cm), body length of 5’7”-6’10” (170-208 cm), and weight in the range of 260-700 lb (118-318 kg). The tail of a Siberian Tiger is 35”-40” (89-102 cm) in length. Siberian Tigers have a typical lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild and 20-25 years in captivity.

Set of standing side elevation drawings of the Siberian Tiger
The Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), also known as the Amur tiger, is the largest subspecies of tiger originating from the Korean Peninsula, the north-eastern parts of China, and eastern Siberia. It has coarse fur in the summer and dense, silky fur in the winter, acclimated to the extreme.

Siberian Tigers have a shoulder height between 30”-42” (75-107 cm), body length of 5’7”-6’10” (170-208 cm), and weight in the range of 260-700 lb (118-318 kg). The tail of a Siberian Tiger is 35”-40” (89-102 cm) in length. Siberian Tigers have a typical lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild and 20-25 years in captivity.

Set of standing side elevation drawings of the Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger
Height:
30”-42” | 75-107 cm
Width:
Length:
5’7”-6’10” | 170-208 cm
Depth:
Withers Height
Weight:
260-700 lb | 118-318 kg
Area:
Tail Length
35”-40” | 89-102 cm
Scientific Name
Panthera tigris tigris
Lifespan
10-15 years (wild); 20-25 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Siberian Tiger side elevation (standing), side (sitting), side (lying down)

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Bengal Tiger
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Bengal Tiger compared to an average person

The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), also known as the Royal Bengal tiger, is the national animal of India and Bangladesh. It is considered one of the biggest cats in size as well as population as the Bengal tiger makes up nearly half of the existing tiger population.

Its coat is light orange and features black stripes on its body and black rings on its tail. It also has a substantial set of teeth as its canines are recorded as the longest of all cats. The Bengal tiger leads a solitary life, maintaining only a basic social unit of the female and her cubs.

Bengal Tigers have a shoulder height between 34”-45” (86-114 cm), body length of 5’3”-6’5” (160-196 cm), and weight in the range of 220-650 lb (100-295 kg). The tail of a Bengal Tiger is 33”-43” (84-109 cm) in length. Bengal Tigers have a typical lifespan of 8-10 years in the wild and 18-25 years in captivity.

Set of standing side elevation drawings of the Bengal Tiger
The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), also known as the Royal Bengal tiger, is the national animal of India and Bangladesh. It is considered one of the biggest cats in size as well as population as the Bengal tiger makes up nearly half of the existing tiger population.

Bengal Tigers have a shoulder height between 34”-45” (86-114 cm), body length of 5’3”-6’5” (160-196 cm), and weight in the range of 220-650 lb (100-295 kg). The tail of a Bengal Tiger is 33”-43” (84-109 cm) in length. Bengal Tigers have a typical lifespan of 8-10 years in the wild and 18-25 years in captivity.

Set of standing side elevation drawings of the Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger
Height:
34”-45” | 86-114 cm
Width:
Length:
5’3”-6’5” | 160-196 cm
Depth:
Withers Height
Weight:
220-650 lb | 100-295 kg
Area:
Tail Length
33”-43” | 84-109 cm
Scientific Name
Panthera tigris tigris
Lifespan
8-10 years (wild); 18-25 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Bengal Tiger side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (lying down)

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Margay
Scale illustration of an average Margay with dimensions for height and length compared to a human

The Margay (Leopardus wiedii), also known as the tiger cat, is a small cat native to South and Central America. Its primary habitat is the deciduous forest where it prefers to spend most of its time among the trees. As such, the Margay is a talented climber that has the ability to climb down trees head-first—a skill only shared with the Clouded Leopard.

The Margay has large eyes, round ears, brown fur with brownish-black rosettes, and claws that increase its tree climbing capabilities. It is similar in appearance to an ocelot although it has a more distinct face and longer tail.

Margays have a shoulder height between 12”-17” (31-43 cm), body length of 18”-31” (36-79 cm), and weight in the range of 5-9 lb (2-4 kg). The tail of a Margay is 12”-20" (31-51 cm) in length. Margays have a typical lifespan of 12-14 years wild and up to 24 years in captivity.

Collection of scaled drawings of Margay in various poses
The Margay (Leopardus wiedii), also known as the tiger cat, is a small cat native to South & Central America. Its lives in the deciduous forest where it prefers to spend most of its time among the trees. As such, the Margay is a talented climber with the ability to climb down trees head first.

Margays have a shoulder height between 12”-17” (31-43 cm), body length of 18”-31” (36-79 cm), and weight in the range of 5-9 lb (2-4 kg). The tail of a Margay is 12”-20" (31-51 cm) in length. Margays have a typical lifespan of 12-14 years wild and up to 24 years in captivity.

Collection of scaled drawings of Margay in various poses
Margay
Height:
12”-17” | 31-43 cm
Width:
Length:
18”-31” | 36-79 cm
Depth:
Withers Height
Weight:
5-9 lb | 2-4 kg
Area:
Tail Length
12”-20" | 31-51 cm
Scientific Name
Leopardus wiedii
Lifespan
12-14 years (wild); Up to 24 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Margay side elevation (standing), front (sitting), side (lying down)

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Clouded Leopard
Comparison illustration of the size of a Clouded Leopard to a typical person

The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), also called the mainland clouded leopard or clouded tiger, is a wild cat inhabiting the Himalayan foothills, Southeast Asia, and southern parts of China. The Clouded Leopard has a grayish brown coat made distinctive with black and dark grey blotches, spots, and patches.

These notable and extensive markings are irregular in shape and size and suggest the reason for its name. Known as one of the most skillful climbers among the cats, the Clouded Leopard has longer hind limbs than its front which aid in its jumping and leaping abilities. As such, the Clouded Leopard often resides in the trees until night falls when it will jump to the ground to hunt.

Clouded Leopards have a shoulder height between 18”-22” (46-56 cm), body length of 27”-43” (69-109 cm), and weight in the range of 25-50 lb (11-23 kg). The tail of a Clouded Leopard is 24”-36” (61-91 cm) in length. Clouded Leopards have a typical lifespan of 11-15 years in the wild and 17-20 years in captivity.

Series of side elevation illustrations of the Clouded Leopard
The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), also called the mainland clouded leopard or clouded tiger, is a wild cat inhabiting the Himalayan foothills, Southeast Asia, and southern parts of China. The Clouded Leopard has a grayish brown coat made distinctive with black and dark grey spots.

Clouded Leopards have a shoulder height between 18”-22” (46-56 cm), body length of 27”-43” (69-109 cm), and weight in the range of 25-50 lb (11-23 kg). The tail of a Clouded Leopard is 24”-36” (61-91 cm) in length. Clouded Leopards have a typical lifespan of 11-15 years in the wild and 17-20 years in captivity.

Series of side elevation illustrations of the Clouded Leopard
Clouded Leopard
Height:
18”-22” | 46-56 cm
Width:
Length:
27”-43” | 69-109 cm
Depth:
Withers Height
Weight:
25-50 lb | 11-23 kg
Area:
Tail Length
24”-36” | 61-91 cm
Scientific Name
Neofelis nebulosa
Lifespan
11-15 years (wild); 17-20 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Clouded Leopard side elevation (standing), front (standing), side (sitting)

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