What wild cats are black?

There are no wild cats which have black coats as their normal color. Some wild cats can be black – actually dark charcoal grey – because they carry a mutated gene which causes them to have a melanistic coat. For example the jaguar, the third largest cat, is normally a doughnut, spotted cat with a beautiful high-contrast coat:

Jaguar swimming

Jaguar swimming. Photo in public domain

Some jaguars carry the gene that causes melanism. These cats are black and they are called black panthers. Other wild cats can be melanistic: servals and bobcats are two examples. Cougars are rarely black and they too are referred to as black panthers. All large, black wild cats are referred to as black panthers but the jaguar is the classic black panther. Lions and tigers are never black in my view. However, Wild Cats of the World states: “Melanism and albinism seem to be uncommon in lions”. The only picture of a black lion on the internet is photoshopped (edited to make the cat look black). The other is of a lion covered in black mud!

There are some white lions and tigers in zoos; also due to a genetic mutation.


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There is nothing more to say because I believe that I have answered the question fully enough.




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