The Florida panther is Florida’s state animal, it is one of the most endangered mammals on earth. It is colored tawny brown on the back and pale gray underneath. The Florida panther is only one of 30 Pumacolor subspecies, commonly known by many names – i.e. puma, cougar, mountain lion, painter, catamount and panther.
The Florida panthers primary consumption consists of white-tailed deer. However, they have are also been known to feed on hog, rabbit, raccoon,armadillo and birds. People who live near panthers and leave their pets and small livestock out in the open at night beware. Panthers have been known to devour these animals opportunistically.
The Florida Panther population is now estimated at only 100-160 adults in the only known
breeding population (South Florida).
Historically these big cats ranged across the southeastern United States including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and parts of Tennessee and South Carolina. Now, the breeding population of Florida Panthers is found only in the southern tip of Florida, south of the Caloosahatchee River. In recent years, young male panthers have been know to travel as far as northeast Florida. Females do not roam as far or as widely.
Panthers are habitat generalists, which means that they use a variety of habitat types, including forests, prairies and swamps. They are typically solitary and territorial animals that travel hundreds of miles within their home range. Panthers are mostly active hunters between dusk and dawn, and rest and sleep during the heat of the day. Males have a home range of 200 square miles yet females only about 75 square miles. Panthers are usually quiet, but they do communicate through vocalization or growls. The sounds they make have been described as chirps, peeps, whistles, purrs, moans, screams, growls, and hisses. Females signal their readiness to mate by yowling or caterwauling.