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What are some facts about the Florida panther?

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The Florida panther is a subspecies of the species that scientists call Puma concolor. These cats are also called cougars, pumas and mountain lions, although the term “Florida panther” is the most common name applied to the species. The large cats formerly inhabited the entirety of the southeastern United States, but because of human persecution, the panthers are currently endangered and as of August 2014, there are fewer than 200 Florida panthers in the state.

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Florida panthers are comfortable living in a wide variety of habitats, including forests, swamps and prairies. They are solitary animals that survive by hunting animals such as deer. Most Florida panthers are nocturnal and spend the days sleeping in trees or within dense patches of vegetation.

Florida panther females usually give birth in the late spring or early summer, but they may mate at any time of the year. Litters contain up to four kittens, but many succumb to disease or predators before reaching maturity. The young kittens are covered in small dark spots, which fade with age.

Florida panthers are supreme leapers and are able to jump 15 feet high or 45 feet horizontally. These abilities are partially the result of the panther’s long rear legs, which proportionally are longer than the legs of any other large cat.

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