Difference Between Panther and Puma

Panther vs Puma

Both panther and puma are very interesting creatures of the animal kingdom, and the importance is mainly because of the colloquial usage. Both panther and puma being felids bring about an added interest to the discussion. They are, however, different from each other in many ways as discussed in this article. One of these creatures has as many names as any animal could have while the other one belongs to many species.


Panthers are an interesting group of animals among all the carnivores in the world. A panther could be any of the big cats; a jaguar, a leopard, a puma etc. Panthers are usually black, which is due to a transferable mutation in their chromosomes. Thus, a color mutated big cat is called a panther. Usually according to the place, a panther could be different; puma in most of the North America, jaguar in South America, leopard in all other places. Therefore, generally a panther could be a leopard but, it is possible to be either a jaguar or a puma. White panthers are also present, known as albino panthers. The white panther is a result of either albinism, or reduced pigmentation, or chinchilla mutation (a genetically caused event that erases striping and color spots).

The panther’s skin does not have visible spots but a uniformly distributed color (mostly black). However, if there is slightest of the chances to observe them very closely, the black panther’s faded spots could be observed. However, this interesting carnivore possesses almost the same biological features as in all others viz. extra-large canines and padded paws with long nails to adapt well for their predatory lifestyle.


Puma, Puma concolor, is a new world wildcat species with six subspecies varying according to the location. They live in mountainous habitats of North and South America, and they are the fourth largest among all the felids in body size. A healthy adult male measures about 75 centimetres of height and grows a body that averages around 2.75 metres of between the nose and base of the tail. Puma’s body weight ranges from 50 to 100 kilograms. Studies have confirmed that their size increases towards the higher latitudes, and smaller bodies around equator. However, the shape of their body is mainly slender looking, which is very important for their swiftness to catch the prey and evade the danger.

Pumas have a uniformly distributed yellowish-brown color coat with a white belly consisting slightly darker patches. However, the coat could sometimes be either silvery-greyish or reddish without complex stripes. Puma cubs and adolescents have darker spots on the coat. There are no documented records regarding black pumas, but people believe that black pumas are there. Pumas are not true big cats as they cannot roar due to the absence of a larynx and hyoid structure. However, they produce low-pitched hisses, purrs, growls, whistles, and chirps like small cats. Interestingly, their hind paw is the largest among all the felids. Pumas live about 12 – 15 years in wild and almost twice as that in captivity. With 40 different common names used to refer the pumas in different parts of the world, this particular animal species holds the Guinness world record for the maximum number of names for one species, and that means it could cause enough problems to the strangers.

What is the difference between Panther and Puma?

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

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

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

• An adult puma coloration could be either yellowish- brown or silvery-greyish or reddish while a panther could be either black or white in color.

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

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