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Difference between Panther and Puma

Puma and panther are the fascinating creatures of the animal kingdom. Both are the members of Felidae family. Though they belong to the same Kingdom Animalia and same Family, they vary in their size, colour, features and many other things. Let us see how panther differs from puma!


The term Panthera refers to the whole family of big cats. There is no actual species called panther. The word panther generally refers to leopards and jaguars which have all black coats due to the excess of a pigment called melanin. So, a panther could be a black jaguar, black leopard and the black Florida panther. They are black due to a mutation in their chromosomes.

So, generally a colour mutated big black cat is called a panther. White panthers are also found which are known as albino panthers. Their white colour is due to albinism, or chinchilla mutation. Panther's skin lacks the visible spots and has same evenly distributed colour. Unlike leopards and jaguars it does not have spots on its body or tail but has a characteristic shiny dark fur.

Panther is a powerful, carnivore animal that has adapted well to a variety of habitants across the world. It is the largest felines in the world which is also able to roar. An adult panther measures 6 to 7.2 feet in length, height at the shoulder measures from 24 to 28 inches and weighs from 100 to 160 pounds.


Puma are also known as cougars, mountain lions, catamounts and various other local names. It is native to the Americas and belongs to feline family. It is closely related to the domestic cat and mainly found in the mountains ranging from southern Canada to the tip of South America.

Puma is a carnivore and nocturnal (active at night) animal. It hunts down a variety of animals like moose, deer, cattle, horses, rodents etc. It is the largest of the small cats and has a characteristic black ring around the nose. It lacks the markings on its fur as suggested by its scientific name Felis concolor which means "cat of one colour". An adult puma measures 2.4 metres in length, stands between 60-76 cm tall at the shoulder and weighs around 53-72 kilograms.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between panther and puma are as follows:

Panther Puma
The word panther refers to the animal genus Panthera which includes big cats like lion, tiger, jaguar , leopard etc The word puma refers to the genus Puma.
It is native to Asia and Africa. It is native to Americas.
The word panther is derived from the Greek words "pan" (all) and "ther" (beast). The word puma is derived from the Quechua language of Peru through the Spanish word "puma".
The fur colour does not vary, it is always black. The fur colour varies from brown-yellow to grey-red.
Its habitat includes forest, swampland and grasslands. It generally prefers to live in forests and rocky mountains.
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