Florida Panthers

Florida panther

About Florida Panthers

Florida panther
Florida panther

Have you ever seen a Florida panther around where you live?  If you live in Manatee County chances are low to see one.  What do we know about the Florida panther? 


Many years ago panthers could be found all over the eastern part of the United States, but now only about 30-50 live in southern Florida. Panthers prefer to live in areas where people don't live.  Their territory can range from 70-250 square miles, which means they can really travel far.  Sometimes they travel as many as 15-20 miles in one day!  The panther likes to rest during the heat of the daytime and travel during the cooler nighttime hours.  This is when they hunt for food.  They eat mostly white-tail deer, raccoons, armadillo, small alligators, small rodents, and fowl.  They like to quietly creep up on their prey. Panthers can run as fast as 35 miles per hour but they can only do that for short distances. 


Panthers are large members of the cat family.  They have long tails and have tawny-colored coats.  Male panthers on the average are about 7 feet long from nose to tail and weigh around 120 pounds.  Females are smaller and the average one can be about 6 feet long and weigh 80 pounds.  They can live as many as 12-15 years in the wild. 


Did you know panthers can swim?  They can wade and swim canals and swamps if they need to.  They can also swim across large bodies of water like lakes.


Panther Trivia

Image Panther Trivia
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  • Panther kittens are born blind.  Their eyes open within 2 to 3 weeks after they are born.  That is also when they start to walk on their own. 
  • Kittens are helpless and stay near the den for their first two months.  Then they are weaned from their mothers and begin eating meat like the adults.
  • When kittens are older and can travel, their mother teachers them the hunting and survival skills they will need.
  • When kittens are born, their coat is spotted.  Their coats begin to lose the spots when they are about 4-6 months old.  The coat changes to a buff color and their eyes turn from brown to a pale gold.
  • They start to hunt on their own, without their mothers, when they are only 18 months old.  Their mother often travels near them to make sure they are protected as long as possible.  Eventually they leave in search of their own territory.
  • The panther is the official state mammal of Florida.
  • Panthers now live mostly in state and national parks and on lands called preserves in the southwest part of Florida.