Felines | Felidae
Felidae, or Felines, is a terrestrial family of furry four-legged mammalian obligate carnivores with a tendency to meow. Felidae have the most diverse fur patterns of all terrestrial carnivores, ranging from spots to stripes to solids. The family of Felidae includes domestic cats, as well as, big, wild cats such as lions. All members of the Felidae family have retractable claws and a knack for hunting and stalking their prey. While there are similarities between members of the Felidae family, there are still many differences; most live alone, but lions live in prides, and feral cats form colonies, they can live in deserts, the arctic, or jungles, and some are nocturnal while others are active during the day.
Felines can be traced back to 37 million years ago and are native to almost every region except for Australia and Antarctica. Smaller cats specifically can be traced back to western Eurasia about 10 million years ago. The domestic cat originated in ancient Egypt and Near East and was domesticated about 10,000 years ago.
Lions are the only felines that truly live in groups called prides. In prides all the females are related and live with the pride for life. A pride typically consists of 5 or 6 female lions, their cubs, and 1 or 2 male lions that mate with the female lions. Cheetah males may gather in bachelor groups temporarily.
The biggest feline species is the liger, the hybrid of the lion and tiger that was developed by breeding a male lion and a female tiger. The liger weights about 795 lbs (360 kg) and can reach a length of 11 to 12 feet (3.35 – 3.65 m) with a height of 6 feet (1.82 m). Other big feline species are the Siberian Tiger, Bengal Tiger, and Lion.