Florida panther  Facts

Florida panther Facts

 The Florida panther is a North American cougar P. c. couguar population.[3] In South Florida, it lives in pinelands, tropical hardwood hammocks, and mixed freshwater swamp forests.

Males can weigh up to 73 kg (161 lb)[4] and live within a range that includes the Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Picayune Strand State Forest, rural communities of Collier County, Florida, Hendry County, Florida, Lee County, Florida, Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Monroe County, Florida.[5][6] It is the only confirmed cougar population in the eastern United States, and currently occupies 5% of its historic range.[7] In the 1970s, an estimated 20 Florida panthers remained in the wild,[8] but their numbers had increased to an estimated 230 by 2017.[9]

In 1982, the Florida panther was chosen as the Florida state animal

Close-up of head in Everglades National Park

Florida panthers are spotted at birth, and typically have blue eyes. As the panther grows, the spots fade and the coat becomes completely tan, while the eyes typically take on a yellow hue. The panther's underbelly is a creamy white, and it has black tips on the tail and ears. Florida panthers lack the ability to roar, and instead make distinct sounds that include whistles, chirps, growls, hisses, and purrs. Florida panthers are average-sized for the species, being smaller than cougars from colder climates, but larger than cougars from the neotropics. Adult female Florida panthers weigh 29–45.5 kg (64–100 lb), whereas the larger males weigh 45.5–72 kg (100–159 lb). Total length is from 1.8 to 2.2 m (5.9 to 7.2 ft) and shoulder height is 60–70 cm (24–28 in).[11][12] Male panthers, on average, are 9.4% longer and 33.2% heavier than females because males grow at a faster rate than females and for a longer time.[13]

Taxonomic status

It was described as a distinct cougar subspecies (Puma concolor coryi) in the late 19th century.[14] The Florida panther has long been considered a unique cougar subspecies, with the scientific name Felis concolor coryi proposed by Outram Bangs in 1899.[14] A genetic study of cougar mitochondrial DNA showed that many of the purported cougar subspecies described in the 19th century are too similar to be recognized as distinct.[15] It was reclassified and subsumed to the North American cougar (P. c. couguar) in 2005.[14] Despite these findings, it was still referred to as a distinct subspecies P. c. coryi in 2006

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