Big Cats Quiz


By: Lauren Lubas

6 Min Quiz

Image: Picture by Tambako the Jaguar / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

When people refer to big cats, they're usually talking about lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards. Yes, we know that Maine Coons are the biggest domestic cats, but this quiz is really all about those cats that you don't want to run into in the wild: the ones that run over 70 miles an hour. We're talking about the ones that can weigh in at over 600 pounds (imagine being stalked and pounced on by that thing) and the ones that we can't fight off. These cats are beautiful creatures, and even if they are truly frightening, they have mannerisms that mimic the domesticated cats that roam around our living rooms and neighborhoods, almost to the point where they don't look like they can take down an entire zebra on by themselves. 

While you may think you know the big cats of the world by sight, you may not know the interesting little factoids that surround these mysterious and fun creatures. However, if you think you have what it takes to pass this ultimate big cats quiz, we invite you to get started right away ... let's see if you can pass this quiz faster than a cheetah can run the 100 yard dash!

About how fast can a lion run?

When it comes to size, lions are in the middle of the big cat world, and the same goes for speed. In short bursts, a lion can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour, but that's only when they are trying to catch their dinner.


Which big cats are usually called "black panthers" by people who can't tell the difference between them?

While they are different species, they are both in the panthera genus. Therefore, calling both the black leopard and the jaguar "black panthers" isn't necessarily wrong, but it might be a good idea to learn how to tell them apart.


How can you tell a male lion from a female lion?

In nature, there are many different animals that have clear distinctions between the sexes. However, none is so prominent than the male lion having a full mane of hair while the female lion does not.


Of all of the big cats, lions tend to be most social. How social are lions?

Those who have observed lions in the field have come to realize that lions have a social structure that mimics canines rather than felines. The dynamic in each pride is different and shows that lions aren't creatures of solitude.


Can a female leopard have cubs that are both black and spotted?

Just like your common domesticated house cat can have kittens in a multitude of colors, a female leopard can have black and spotted cubs in the same litter. Black leopards are not uncommon among the species.


Which big cat has the loudest roar?

The roar of big cats comes from their larynx. The longer the larynx, the louder the roar. Lions are known as the big cats with the loudest roar ... maybe that's why a lion is known as the king of beasts.


Can you tell one of the differences between a leopard and a jaguar?

Leopards and jaguars are very similar big cats. However, jaguars have a rounder head than a leopard, as well as smaller eyes and rounder cheeks. While you might think the leopard's spots gives it away, there are naturally occurring black leopards.


Which big cat isn't endangered?

Big cats were once considered the most dangerous game, and nabbing one meant that you were an awesome hunter who had a big .... gun. These days, the big cats are still poached for their hides and various body parts, but they are considered protected animals.


We know that tigers live in zoos, but where can you find tigers in the wild?

From Russia to Cambodia, from India to China and everywhere between, different species of tigers can be found across Asia. There are even species of tiger in Malaysia and Indonesia.


Do you know the shape of a lion's ears?

The shape of a lion's ears isn't just for show. Their ears are actually rounded to help them stay camouflaged when they are hunting. If their ears were pointed, they would stick out, and prey would be able to recognize them.


Which big cat has a tasseled tail?

In addition to male lions having manes, both the males and females of the species have poofs at the ends of their tales. This helps their cubs find them in tall prairie grass, and it also helps them communicate while they are hunting.


Where are most lions found?

While some lions live in portions of Asia, the majority of lions can be found south of the Sahara desert in Africa. As a matter of fact, hunting and human intervention has all but wiped out the Asian lion population.


Do you know what jaguars like to eat?

A jaguar isn't your typical cat. They love to swim and fish and hunt for turtles. Their primary source of food comes from rivers. They are the strongest swimmers out of all of the big cats.


How old was the oldest recorded tiger?

In captivity, tigers can live up to about 20 years. However, most tigers in the wild live to be around 15 to 20 years old. The oldest tiger on record was named Flavio, and he passed away in 2014 at the ripe old age of 25 years old.


What is the scientific name for lions?

We know this was a tough one, but if you're into Latin, you might not have a problem. In Latin, "leo" means lion, and the lion is a part of the panthera genus (the only genus to include big cats). Therefore, the scientific name for a lion is Panthera leo.


Which big cat causes the most human deaths out of all of the big cats on Earth?

Scientists believe that Bengal tigers are one of the most dangerous species of big cats, because their habitats are being taken over by humans. As they are territorial creatures, they shouldn't be trifled with.


Can you name the species of big cat once roamed the southern United States?

Jaguars and leopards are very similar big cats. You can even see spots in the black fur on a jaguar. However, leopards live in Asia and Africa while jaguars are indigenous to South and Central America.


Which subspecies of tiger is NOT endangered?

That's right, there isn't a single subspecies of tiger that isn't on the endangered species list. There are only about 500 Siberian tigers left on Earth, living in and around eastern Russia.


Do you know which animal is considered a "big cat" in some circles, but not in most?

The snow leopard was placed in the panthera genus in 2008, but many scientists debate the fact that it should be considered a big cat. This is mostly because snow leopards do not roar, they simply growl.


Do you know how long the average lion lives for?

Yes, most lions don't live long enough to get their driver's licenses, but they can eat a lot of zebras in that short amount of time. After all, a male lion can reach up to 420 pounds.


If a leopard is hunting, where will you usually find it?

While it is common knowledge that leopards like to nap in trees, they also use the height as an advantage when they're hunting. The leaves of the trees camouflage them while they stalk their prey.


What separates big cats from other cats?

Big cats can roar, but small cats can't. However, big cats can't purr like small cats. It is this stage of evolution that separates the big from the small. Could you imagine if your house cat could make the same sound as a lion?


How do tigers prefer to attack?

Tigers only attack from behind. Therefore, if you're ever walking through the jungle, you may find that you are safer if you wear a mask on the back of your head. It could save your life.


Do you know the largest sub species of tiger?

The reason tigers are known as the largest big cats around is the fact that the Siberian tiger can reach up to 800 pounds. With their size and the deforestation in their habitat, Siberian tigers are endangered.


Do you know how to spot the alpha male in a pride of lions?

Alpha males in a pride have more testosterone in their systems and their hair is black or very dark. This may be why female lions prefer the company of dark-haired males ... and they pretty much know it too.


What usually happens to a lion if it is neutered?

In captivity, some male lions are neutered to stop them from becoming territorial or violent. When they are neutered, they lose their manes. This could draw a direct connection between testosterone and the mane of a male lion.


Can you name the smallest big cat of all?

Leopards usually live to be about 17 years old, and they only get to be around 90 to 120 pounds when they are fully matured. Compare that to tigers who can get up to 800 pounds and grow to about 11 feet long.


There are four different kinds of big cats in the world. Which of these is not included on that list?

Big cats are defined by the genus they are a part of (Panthera). These cats include the lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard. Snow leopards and clouded leopards are not included in this genus, and are therefore not considered big cats.


Can you name the animal that can kick so hard it can decapitate a lion?

While most giraffes don't get the chance to kick a lion, they do have incredibly powerful legs (those necks can get pretty heavy). A giraffe can kick so hard that it can kill a lion in one shot.


Where are a tiger's whiskers located?

The whiskers on a tiger help them see and sense things at night. Their pupils don't dilate at night, making it difficult for them to see in the dark, and these whiskers help them sense things that are around them.


Can you name the popular perfume that attracts the big cats of the world?

That's right, tigers and jaguars both love the smell of "Obsession" by Calvin Klein. As a matter of fact, when scientists are in the field studying these creatures, they use the perfume to attract them.


What is the average weight of a jaguar?

While leopards are the smallest of the big cats, jaguars aren't that far off. They usually weigh between 200 and 265 pounds, and unlike leopards, jaguars do not spend a lot of time in trees.


Which prey will kill a lion instead of running from it?

One kick from an ostrich can severely injure a lion, and if that lion is hunting by itself, it may end up dead. Ostriches are no joke when it comes to defending themselves, and they will gladly stand and fight rather than run and die.


How well can tigers see at night?

Even though tigers have great eyesight at night, they can really only see far away moving objects in the dark. Their eyes don't dilate in the dark, making it more difficult to see closer objects.


Where is the largest population of tigers found?

The saddest fact about endangered tigers is that America has more tigers in captivity than the rest of the world has in the wild. That makes the United States the proud owner of the largest population of tigers in the world.


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