Difference Between Cougar and Panther

Cougar vs Panther

Cougars and panthers, are both very interesting carnivores of the Family: Felidae. However, their colouration is the most interesting feature to discuss, apart from the carnivorous habits and the horrifying roars. The distribution and other characteristics are also important to distinguish them separately. This article intends to emphasize the differences between these two interesting carnivores.


Cougar, Puma concolor, aka Puma, is a native cat to South and North America, and live in mountains more often than not. Cougars are the fourth largest cats, and they are agile with a slender body. An average adult male is about 75 centimetres tall and measures about 2.75 metres between nose and the base of the tail. Their whole weight body could range between 50 and 100 kilograms. A size analysis with the latitude suggests that cougars are larger towards the temperate regions and smaller towards the equator. Colouration of cougars is simple with almost uniform distribution of the yellowish-brown colour coat, but the belly is whiter with little darker patches. In addition, the coat could sometimes be either silvery-greyish or reddish without complex stripes. However, the cubs and the adolescents vary in their colouration with spots as well. There has not been any documented record about sighting a black cougar in the literature. The interesting fact about cougar is that they do not have a larynx and hyoid structures to roar like lions, panthers, or jaguars. However, they could produce low-pitched hisses, purrs, growls, whistles, and chirps. Since they cannot roar, cougars do not fall under the big cat category. Cougars have the largest hind paw among all the members of the Family: Felidae. Despite the categorization as a non-big-cat, cougars are the predators of almost the same animals, as the big cats prefer.


It has always been interesting to study the panthers, as they could be any of the big cats including jaguars and leopards. Usually, panthers are black in colour, but white panthers are always possible. This special colouration takes place because of a transferable mutation in their chromosomes. Thus, a panther is any colour mutated big cat. Usually depending on the locality, the species and characteristics could vary. Therefore, a panther could be a colour-mutated jaguar in South America, and a leopard in Asia and Africa. People more often refer the black cougars or pumas being sighted and attempting to refer them as panthers. However, strong evidence on black pumas is not available yet. The incidence of leopards to undergo colour mutation is usually higher, which could be one panther in every five leopards. Therefore, a panther could be a leopard more often. White panthers are also present, and known as albino panthers. The albino panther could be a result of either albinism or reduced pigmentation or chinchilla mutation. The spots or rosettes are not visible on a panther’s skin, but a very closer examination would reveal that the faded rosettes are there. Since, panthers are carnivores; they also possess almost the same carnivorous adaptations viz. extra large canines and padded paws with long nails.

What is the difference between Cougar and Panther?

• Cougar is always a defined and identified particular species, while a panther could be any of the big cats.

• Cougar does not have a larynx and hyoid structures to produce horrifying roars, but panthers could produce roars.

• Cougar is a new world species, while panther is both new world and old world species.

• An adult cougar colouration could be either yellowish- brown or silvery-greyish or reddish, while a panther could be either black or white in colour.

• The hind paw of the cougar is larger than that of panther.

• Cougars usually inhabit mountains, whereas panthers range in grasslands and forests.