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Discovery Magazine 12/1/2010

Purrrfectly Big Cats

In Discovery this month we have been studying some of the really big cats that God created. These cats are big, strong, and powerful, and they show the genius and creative ability of our great Creator. Let’s look at some other big cat characteristics.


The Cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world. It can reach speeds of 70 miles an hour and keep that pace for almost 1,000 feet. In one huge stride, a Cheetah can cover over 25 feet of ground. That is about as long as two average sized cars. Cheetahs can weigh 140 pounds. Many years ago, people caught baby cheetahs and trained them to hunt gazelles and other animals, much like people train hunting dogs today. The name “cheetah” means “spotted one.”


Jaguars live in South America. The name “jaguar” means, “he who kills with one leap.” Jaguars have the most powerful jaws of any large cat, even more powerful than lions and tigers. Jaguars, like most all the other large cats, can see about six times better than humans in dim light. This allows them to see and hunt when there is little light. Also, like all large cats, jaguars rest for about 19-20 hours a day, which only leaves about four hours each day for them to hunt, eat, and clean themselves. Jaguars, like other big cats such as tigers, are quite comfortable in the water. They even eat some aquatic animals such as fish and small alligators.


Leopards are extremely strong. They can drag up a tree prey that weighs two or three times as much as their own body weight. Leopards with a condition called “melanism” are black. These leopards are often called black panthers. But they are not panthers, they are just black leopards. Leopards have the remarkable ability to go for a whole month without drinking any water. They can get all the moisture they need from the other animals they eat. The snow leopard can jump 50 feet in a single leap. That is farther than a pitcher’s mound is from home plate in little league baseball!!

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