The black panther, a term that encompasses black leopards and black jaguars, lives mainly in areas with dense rain forests. Black leopards live in Africa, Central Asia, India and China while black jaguars are found in Latin America.
Black leopards and jaguars adapt easily to many habitats, temperatures and altitudes, and they can be found in mountains and deserts as well as in the rain forests. Thick vegetation, caves or rocky terrain afford them areas in which to hide and hunt. They often live near water. They are strong swimmers and sometimes dine on aquatic creatures.
Most leopards and jaguars are tan in color with black spots. A genetic mutation causes some of these animals to appear black, but close inspection of the fur reveals the usual dark markings against a dark background.