Discover One Indigenous Feline Per Continent

On every continent of the planet, with the exception of one, there's an indigenous feline in the wild.
Discover One Indigenous Feline Per Continent

Last update: 06 May, 2021

We can find felines almost everywhere on the planet. From the warmest to the coldest ecosystems, this family is spread all over the world. In order to admire their diversity, we wanted to compile a list of one indigenous feline species per continent.

Indigenous feline species

Asia: The Bengal tiger

In Asia we can find very different felines, but, indisputably, the king is the Bengal tiger. This is a sub-species within the Asian tigers and is the national animal of India and Bangladesh.

A bengal tiger walking among trees.

The Bengal tiger is one of the largest felines in existence. Males can reach 9 feet in length, excluding the tail, and weigh more than 440 pounds. They’re orange or tawny with black spots, and there’s a strange mutation that sometimes makes them white, like the one in the photo illustrating this article.

Like all felines, it’s a carnivorous and hunting animal. This type of tiger hunts everything it can and doesn’t specialize in a specific type of prey. Its diet ranges from Asian buffaloes to turkeys or other birds. In captivity, experts have observed that they can eat up to 66 pounds of meat per day.

Africa: The leopard

We know that that centuries ago, the leopard lived in many more territories than it occupies today. They spread over the entire southern half of Asia and almost all of Africa, with the exception of the Sahara. Today, however, there are fewer specimens and their habitat is reduced to the central strip of Africa.

A leopart lying on a rock, looking attentive.

The leopard is the fifth-largest feline species on the planet. They’re almost as tall as tigers, measuring between 23 and 36 inches to the withers and more than 6.5 feet long excluding the tail. However, they’re much more slender and slender, and usually weigh no more than 200 pounds.

Europe: The common European cat

The common European cat is the indigenous feline species with the largest and most well-known population. This domestic feline is one of the most common pets, and the common European cat breed is the most abundant.

A common European cat.

This breed is characterized by short, smooth, and shiny fur. It has a straight muzzle and wide-spaced triangular ears. It’s agile and relatively healthy, and, except for being prone to obesity, it suffers from few diseases.

These cats can appear in many different color types. For example, brindle or marbled, in variations of gray with black stripes and spots; solid color in white, orange, or black; and bicolor in combinations of orange, white, and black. Only females can be tricolored.

North America: Canada lynx

As its name indicates, this lynx lives in the territories belonging to Canada. Although some small populations descend south as far as Washington and a couple of other states.

A Canada lynx walking in the snow.

This animal can live in snow and extreme temperatures, so its fur is longer than that of other felines. It’s also more abundant and woolly. Its paw pads are covered with hair, which not only helps it to keep warm but also prevents it from slipping on the ice.

South America: Ocelot

The ocelot is a medium-sized feline species that lives in the northern half of South America, as far as Argentina and part of Central America. In this area, we find many other animals of the same family (jaguar, puma, oncilla, Andean cat…). But, in this case, we want to focus on this particular indigenous feline.

The ocelot is an indigenous feline in South America.

They’re between 27 and 36 inches long, plus the tail, which can add another 12 or 16 inches. They weigh around 24 pounds, so they’re far from belonging to the big cat species, but they’re not as small as domestic cats.

The ocelot’s fur is very characteristic: it’s yellow to cream-colored with black stripes and spots. Its ears are large and rounded, and its facial features appear more pronounced than those of other species due to the stripes on its skin. Years ago, it was persecuted for its fur.

Oceania: None

There are no native wild cats in Oceania! In other words, all the felines that are currently living on any of the islands that make up this continent were introduced artificially recently.

Australia is an island sadly known for the invasion of foreign animals, which become dangerous to native animals or pests, due to the lack of predators. This has happened, for example, with the domestic cat: Domestic animals escaped or were abandoned and have reproduced in that territory.

Felines are a large family, even if here we’ve only included one indigenous feline per continent. Some are larger than others, but they still have things in common. They’re carnivores, they’re hunters, and they have large expressive eyes.

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