What Do Panthers Eat? List Of Different Things!

Panthers are not a single species, but a term given to big cats with black or melanistic coats.

This typically includes leopards and jaguars, but mountain lions are also referred to as panthers occasionally.

In this article, we will take a look at what jaguars, leopards, and mountain lions eat. 

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What Do Panthers Eat? List Of Different Things!

The diets of these animals vary a lot depending on where they are.

This is because leopards are found in both Africa and Asia, and the jaguar and mountain lion are found in North and South America. As wildlife differs a lot, so do their diets!

It’s important to note that all three of these animals are obligate carnivores.

This means that they can only get the nutrition they need from meat sources. While they light occasionally eat other foods like plants or berries, they are not beneficial to the animals.

Because of this, we will only focus on the prey that these three types of panthers hunt and eat. 

Ready to find out more? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!

What Do Panthers Eat? 

What Do Panthers Eat? List Of Different Things!

Mountain Lions (Puma Concolor)

Mountain lions, also called pumas or cougars (among other names) are found in North, Central, and South America.

They cover a vast range from areas in Alaska to southern Chile and Argentina. 

These animals live in forests, deserts, and wetlands. Generally, as long as there is shelter and prey, mountain lions will thrive wherever they are.

As such, they are known to eat a variety of things that naturally occur in their habitats. 

Below is a list of animals that mountain lions eat:

  • Elk – large deer
  • Foxes – small omnivorous mammals
  • Coyotes – small-medium canids
  • Red deer – large deer
  • White-tailed deer – medium-sized deer
  • Caribou – medium-sized deer
  • Mule deer – medium-sized deer
  • North American bison – large bovines 
  • Black bears – medium-sized bears
  • Mountain goats – medium-sized goats
  • Bighorn sheep – medium-sized sheep
  • Wild horses – large mammals
  • Moose – only the young or elderly, the largest species of the deer family
  • Cattle – large bovines
  • Raccoons – small mammals with ringed tails
  • Bobcat – medium-sized wild cat
  • Beavers – medium-sized rodent 
  • Rodents – rats, mice, and other similar rodents
  • Birds – various birds
  • Hares – various hares
  • Fish – various fish
  • Amphibians – various amphibians 
  • Lizards – various lizards
  • Marmot – large ground-dwelling squirrel
  • Skunks – small striped animals
  • Groundhogs – small rodent
  • Lynx – medium-sized wild cat

Jaguars (Panthera Onca)

Jaguars are the third-biggest cats in the world, after lions and tigers.

They are found in select places in North America, but primarily live in Central and South America.

The majority of the jaguar population is located in and around the Amazon Rainforest. However, they are also found in northern Argentina.

They mostly live in thick jungle, like the Amazon, but some populations are also found in deserts.

Most animals prefer wooded or forested areas, but as long as there is prey and shelter, they tend to do well.  

Below is a list of animals that jaguars eat:

  • Tapir – large mammals similar to pigs
  • Cattle – large bovines
  • Snakes – various snake species, including anaconda
  • Caiman – various sized reptiles similar to alligators 
  • Red brocket deer – a small deer
  • Birds – various birds
  • Fish – various fish
  • Giant anteater – a large insectivorous mammal 
  • Tortoises – various tortoises, jaws are strong enough to crush the shell
  • Rabbits – various rabbits
  • Capybaras – world’s largest rodent
  • Armadillos – small mammal covered in bony plates
  • Iguanas – small-medium sized reptiles
  • Peccaries – medium-sized pig-like mammal
  • Eggs – bird and reptile eggs are fair game for jaguars
  • Turtles – various turtles
  • Marsh deer – large deer

Leopards (Panthera Pardus)

Leopards are found primarily in Africa and Asia, but also occur naturally in parts of Europe.

They have the largest distribution of all wild cats. These animals range from southern to central africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

They are also found in the Middle East and European countries such as Russia.

In Asia, leopards are found in southern China, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

These animals are found in a huge variety of habitats. They thrive in deserts, grasslands to mountains and rainforests.

Leopards are very adaptive and can do well as long as there is prey and shelter for them. 

Below is a list of animals that leopards eat:

  • Thompson’s gazelle – medium-sized antelope, diet of the African leopard
  • Impala – medium-sized antelope, diet of the African leopard
  • Warthog – a small to medium-sized wild pig, diet of the African leopard
  • Sheep – medium animals, prey to all leopards
  • Kudu – large antelope, diet of the African leopard
  • Feral pigs – medium-large pigs, prey of all leopards
  • Wildebeest – large antelope, diet of the African leopard
  • Bushbuck – medium-sized antelope, diet of the African leopard
  • Gorillas – large primates, occasionally hunted by African leopards
  • Rhesus macaques – small monkeys, prey of Indian leopards 
  • Guar – large bovine, diet of the Indian leopard
  • Street dogs – prey of all leopards
  • Sambar deer – large deer, diet of the Indian leopard
  • Aardvark – medium-sized animal, prey to African leopards 
  • Baboons – medium-large monkeys, prey to African leopards
  • Nilgai – large antelope, diet of the Indian leopard
  • Axis deer (chital) – medium-sized deer, diet of the Indian leopard
  • Vervet monkeys – small monkeys, prey to African leopards
  • Hares – various species, prey to all leopards
  • Roe deer – medium-sized deer, diet of the Amur leopard
  • Sika deer – medium-sized deer, diet of the Amur leopard
  • Eurasian Wild boar – large pics, diet of the Amur leopard 
  • Porcupines – large, spiny rodents, prey of the African leopards
  • Lizards – various lizard species, primarily prey of African and Amur leopards
  • Birds – various bird species, prey of all leopards
  • Raccoon dogs – small fox-like animal, prey to the Indian leopard
  • Fish – various fish species, prey of all leopards
  • Dung beetles – small beetle known for rolling balls of dung, prey of the African leopard
  • Rodents – includes rats, mine, and similar animals, prey of all leopards

Final Thoughts 

Panthers eat a wide variety of things depending on where they are in the world. For panthers like jaguars, mountain lions, Amur and Indian leopards, deer are the majority of their diets.

For African leopards, antelope like impala and kudu are the primary source of food.

Panthers are generally very adaptive animals, whether they are leopards, cougars, or jaguars. However, they all rely on certain prey being around in order for them to thrive.

Joe Edwards
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