Black panthers are actually leopards or jaguars
Just like superheroes, panthers are essentially fictional. Rather than refer to a specific species of big cat, “black panther” is actually a colloquial term for the black jaguar (Panthera onca) and the black leopard (Panthera pardus). These animals have a dark coat color, namely a black coat or large clusters of black spots on a dark background. The term “leopard” itself is derived from the genus Panthera, which includes contemporary species such as jaguars and leopards, as well as lions and tigers, which scientists have grouped together due to similar skull features. of them.
Byron Weckworth, director of conservation genetics at Panthera, a feral cat conservation organization, says the melanistic trait in their fur is hereditary and is itself born from the recessive allele in leopards and leopards. dominant allele in jaguars. Although melanin levels can vary between jaguars and leopards born in the same litter, black jaguars and leopards are rare. “About 10% of wild leopards are estimated to be black for both species – jaguars and leopards – due to different environmental pressures and natural selection,” Weckworth said.
Black panthers are native to 3 different continents
T’Challa is native to the fictional African country of Wakanda, and several species of leopards also live in Africa. But black panthers are also common in Asia, as in Africa, they are mainly found in dark, dense and humid forest habitats, such as along the African mountain ranges and in the mountains. tropical forests in South and Southeast Asia. In contrast, the American jaguar mainly lives in the wet lowlands, savannas, and rainforests across Central and South America, such as along the Amazon basin.
Black panther has retractable claws
One of the notable features of Black Panther’s supersuit is the retractable vibranium claws attached to the suit’s fingertips that serve as the hero’s primary method of combat while attacking and subdue the enemy.
Craig Saffoe, curator of large carnivores at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, often likens black panthers’ retractable claws to cutting blades. Each claw on a jaguar or leopard’s paw has a ligament attached. When the ligament is pulled back, the claw is pulled back. The retractability of the claws ensures they are always protected; If a black leopard’s claws are left out for a long time, they will become dull or possibly break. “If their claws don’t retract, they won’t be able to grip their prey, and they won’t be able to climb trees,” says Saffoe.
Black panthers are excellent swimmers
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has a major nemesis in the name of Namor, the king of an underwater kingdom and if the sequel takes this hero to the ocean, rest assured that jaguars and leopards are excellent swimmers. Unlike the typical domestic cat, which hates water, jaguars and leopards use swamps and rivers to their advantage.
Both species of cats are capable of swimming, but jaguars tend to live in wetter environments, and they are more likely to enter the water to play, cool off and relax, according to Saffoe. He said jaguars are very well adapted to aquatic and semi-aquatic environments – so if their prey escapes into the water, they won’t have much luck.
Black panther can be invisible in the dark
Leopards and leopards use stealth while hunting. The dark coat gives nocturnal predators good camouflage, says Weckworth, and these big cats often use the dark to hunt. “Jaguars and leopards are not predators by following them for long distances,” Weckworth said. “These species will often sneak up on their prey, running short sprints to pounce, kill and knock down their prey. “.
Black panthers have extraordinary eyesight
Jaguars and leopards are fundamentally much better at night when compared to humans, with reflective lenses in their eyes to effectively absorb light, Saffoe said. . At night, they can see six to seven times better than humans. The keen eyesight of nocturnal predators allows them to spot prey with or without light. The eyes of jaguars and leopards tend to be yellow to greenish yellow, with the color more prominent than the dark coat.
They have an amazing sense of smell
Leopards and leopards have a keen sense of smell that aids their survival, helping them identify friends and foes in the wild.
Leopards and leopards have unique ways of marking their territory, including using their claws to scratch down trees. “They’ll certainly use urine to mark territory, and sometimes they’ll rub their bodies and heads along an area to get their scent on every object they can,” says Saffoe. smell them”.