Difference Between Mountain Lion and Panther

Mountain Lion vs Panther

Mountain lions and panthers, both are 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 fascinating carnivores.

Mountain Lion

Mountain lion, Puma concolor, aka Puma or cougar, is a hugely built native cat to the Americas. Mountain lions prefer to live around mountains more often than not. Mountain lions are the fourth largest among all the felines. Despite their large size, mountain lions are agile creatures, and compete for the same kind of food with other large predators such as jaguars. Heir males are larger than the females. The height of an average adult male is about 75 centimetres at the withers. The measurement between the nose and the base of the tail is about 275 centimetres and their bodyweight could range from 50 to 100 kilograms. An interesting size analysis has been performed related to the living latitude, and it suggests that mountain lions tend to be larger towards the temperate regions and smaller towards the equator. The interesting fact about the mountain lions is that they do not have a larynx and hyoid structures to roar like lions, panthers, or jaguars. However, they could produce low pitch hisses, purrs, growls, whistles, and chirps. Since they cannot roar, mountain lions do not fall under big cat category. Colouration of mountain lions 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 mountain lion in the literature. The other interesting fact about mountain lions is that they have the largest hind paw among all the felines.


It has always been fascinating to study the panthers, as they could be any of the big cats including jaguars and leopards. It is a colour morph of the jaguars or leopards. Usually, panthers are black in colour, but white panthers are also possible. This special colouration takes place because of a transferable mutation in their chromosomes. Thus, a panther could be defined as any big cat with a colour mutation. In addition, a panther could be a jaguar with a colour mutation in South America, or a leopard in Asia and Africa. The frequency of leopards to undergo colour mutations is usually higher compared o jaguars; which could be one panther for every five leopards. Therefore, some people and scientists more often refer that a panther could be a leopard more often than not. White colour mutants are also known as albino panthers, and they could be a result of either albinism or reduced pigmentation or chinchilla mutation. The characteristic rosettes of leopards and jaguars are not visible on a panther’s skin, but a close examination would reveal that the faded rosettes and white colour hairs are also seen in addition. Panthers being carnivorous big cats, they possess all the carnivorous adaptations viz. extra large canines, rough and strong bones, padded paws, long nails, and many more.


What is the difference between Mountain lion and Panther?

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

• Mountain lion is not a big cat as they do not roar, but panther is a big cat and produces horrific roars.

• Mountain lion lives in Americas, whereas panther could be in either South America or Africa or Asia.

• An adult mountain lion 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 mountain lion is larger than that of panther.

• The habitat of mountain lions is usually mountains whereas panthers normally range in grasslands and forests.