Big Cats that are Black (Black Wild Cats)

Wild Cats, or we can commonly say Big Cats are one of the most dangerous land carnivores on this planet. Most wild cats are nocturnal means they hunt primarily at night. Also, every cat species has tapetum lucidum in its eyes, which allows them to see much better in the dark.

The common wild cats are lions, tigers, jaguars, and cheetahs. But when we talk about black wild cats, one name that pops up in our mind is Black Panther. So, are there any big cats that are completely black, like Black Panther?

The short answer is yes. In this post, we will discuss the list of Big Cats that are Black. And don’t worry; we will not add the names of domestic cats. We know there are plenty of black breeds of domestic cats. So, let’s begin the list.

Big Cats that are Black

1) Black Serval/ Melanistic Serval

The black serval cat is a medium-sized, slender cat that is endemic to Africa and also found in sub-Saharan countries. It is conservative, i.e., its hunting is banned. It has a jet-black body with shining green/yellow eyes and erect ears.

Being carnivorous, black serval are both diurnal and nocturnal, i.e., active during both daytime and night-time. It hunts down rodents, rats, small birds, frogs, insects, and reptiles.

Black serval can jump over six feet above the ground and kills its prey by biting the latter’s neck. The melanistic version of serval cats has been held captive for many years. The average life span of Black Serval in the wild is 8-10 years. They feed on rodents, small birds, frogs, insects, and reptiles.

  • Scientific name: Leptailurus serval
  • Size: 21-24 inches
  • Geographic Location: Ethiopia, Gabon, and the Central African Republic

2) Black Panther

Black Panther animal

As most of us are already aware of this name, a black panther is the melanistic version of a leopard and jaguar. They have got black color skin pigmentation in excess with emerald green eyes.

Black panthers come under the big cat family and are endemic to Asia, Africa, and America. Their characteristic feature is the climbing technique, which is known to be perfect among felines.

They also have patches on the body, but it is so dark that one cannot identify them. The average lifespan of Black Panthers is nearly around 12-17 years. They’re amazingly intelligent, agile, quiet, and cautious animals but are nocturnal in nature. They mainly feed deer, wild hogs, and raccoons.

  • Scientific name: Panthera pardus, Panthera onca
  • Size: 43-75 inches
  • Geographic Location: Asia, Africa, and America

3) Jaguarundi


Jaguarundi is a wild cat endemic to the Americas. It is a medium-sized, slender cat with an elongated body, short legs, and sharp ears. Jaguarundi is diurnal and mostly active during the day.

In the evening, it preys on small birds, rodents, reptiles, fish, rabbits, opossums, etc. Its habitat ranges from tropical rainforest to deciduous forests to thorn forests as well. They can jump up to 2m in the air to catch their prey. It has a lifespan of 15 years.

  • Scientific name: Herpailurus yagouaroundi
  • Size: 14 inches
  • Geographic Location: Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, United States

4) Black Mountain Lion

The mountain lion/ cougar belongs to the big cat family, predominantly found in America. Due to its wide range, it has common names like mountain lion, puma, catamount, and Panther as well.

It is the second largest cat after Panther. The black mountain lion is nocturnal and crepuscular, i.e., active during night-time and twilight hours. Primarily, it hunts down deer and small rodents as well.

Mountain lions are hypercarnivore means that their targets include large mammals like deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, and sheep. It stays in dense underbrush and rocky areas.

Being seclusive and of shy nature, they usually avoid people and live in solitary regions. The Mountain lion is placed in the fourth position among the largest cat species worldwide.

They’re capable of jumping up to 18 ft high from the ground as they got the largest hind legs in the Felidae family. The average lifespan of Mountain Lions is 8 to 13 years. 

  • Scientific name: Puma concolor
  • Size: 7 ft 10 in
  • Geographic Location: North America and South America

5) Black Geoffroy’s Cat

Geoffroy’s cat is a small wild cat endemic to South America and is the most abundant and widespread cat. It generally has a yellow body with black patches on it, but its black variation is quite rare. And here we are, taking Black Geoffroy’s Cat in the list. 

These cats are nocturnal in nature and primarily feed on rodents, hares, small mammals, birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, etc. Their habitats include landscapes and savannas, open woodland areas as well.

  • Scientific name: Leopardus geoffroyi
  • Size: 24 inches
  • Geographic Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay

Other List

Below, we have mentioned a list of some other black wild cats. However, there is not much detail about these species, so we have mentioned them in the list.

Here, we conclude our article on “Big Cats that are Black.” We hope that this article will provide you with the necessary information and replenish your curiosity. We will be back with other similar exciting posts. Till then, stay tuned with us. 

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