Big Cats

About Big Cats:

The cat family is divided into two subfamilies:  Large cats (Pantherinae) and small cats (Felinae). Large cat species include lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars.  Small cats include cougars, lynx, bobcats, servals, domestic cats and many others. Other than size, the most distinguishing difference is that big cats can roar, but they cannot purr. Small cats are able to purr, but they cannot roar. Sometimes cougar, snow leopard, clouded leopard and cheetah are included in the list for big cats, however these cats cannot roar.

Despite the various sizes and colorations of cat species, they share many similarities. All felids are carnivores and have adaptations, such as flexible bodies and muscular legs, which allow them to hunt by ambush, stalking, or short pursuit.  Their tongues are extremely rough, covered with sharp papillae that they use for grooming and for tearing meat.  All cats have protractible claws that they can extend but are not normally visible when at rest.  

Regardless of their beauty and majesty, many cat species are listed as endangered, vulnerable, or threatened due to poaching, habitat loss and human conflict.

Fun Facts:

  • Every tiger in the world is unique – no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes.
  • Cougar, mountain lion, puma, or panther - they are all the same cat! The cougar has more names than just about any other mammal on earth!

At the Rolling Hills Zoo you can
find a diverse range of Big Cats: