Monday, January 23, 2012

Florida Panther 01

The florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar (Puma concolor) that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. This species is also known as the cougar, mountain lion, puma, and catamount; but in the Southeast, and particularly Florida, it is exclusively known as the panther. 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 become more of a yellow. The panther's underbelly is a creamy white, with black tips on the tail and ears. Florida panthers lack the ability to roar, and instead make many distinct sounds that include whistles, chirps, growls, hisses, and purrs. 

The Florida panthers diet contains many small animals like hares and other rodents, birds like ducks, gees and even storks as well as lager animals like wild boars and white tailed deers. An adult florida panther has very few natural predators, alligators, large pythons and humans. The biggest threat to their survival is human encroachment. Historical persecution (through poaching and wildlife control measures) reduced this wide-ranging, large carnivore to a small area of south Florida. This created a tiny isolated population that became inbred (revealed by kinked tails, heart and sperm problems). The two highest causes of mortality for Florida panthers are automobile collisions and territorial aggression between panthers but the primary threats to the population as a whole include habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation.

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