In addition to providing a life-long home to many of the great cat species, Catty Shack Ranch hopes to educate all our visitors and supporters about the animals we have at the Ranch. During our tours, our volunteers will include facts about the individual species here – along with the dangers they are facing in the wild…and in captivity.
Species: Panthera tigris
There are currently 6 living subspecies of Tigers, including the Sumatran (smallest and darkest in color), Siberian (also called Amur and are the biggest and lightest in color), Indian (also called Bengal), South China, Malayan, and Indo-Chinese. Three subspecies of Tigers have become extinct and they are the Java, Bali, and Caspian tigers. All of Catty Shack’s current resident tigers are Siberian.
Life Span: up to 15 years in the wild; 20-25 years in captivity
Diet: Wild tigers average a large kill about once per week and in a single night can eat as much as 60 lb of meat (though the average meal is 33-40 lbs)! Wild tigers often bury the remains of their prey in an attempt to hide it from scavengers and will then come back to it later for another meal. Catty Shack tigers eat roughly 10-15 pounds of food five to six nights a week. The Catty Shack Ranch follows the USDA guidelines and feeds according to their body weight. They also follow strict nutrition requirements from their veterinarians and also add vitamins and minerals to all their food. Their menu is primarily chicken and red meat. Catty Shack only feeds processed meat, never live.
Size: Siberian tigers are the largest tigers in the world and can grow to almost 11 feet from nose to tail tip. Females typically run from 300 to 400 pounds, while males average anywhere from 400 to 600 pounds. At Catty Shack, the weight of our tigers is strictly monitored to ensure that our residents maintain a healthy weight.
Reproduction: Mating can occur throughout the year and typically lasts for several days before the male and female go their separate ways. Females deliver cubs after a gestation period of 100-112 days and bear litters of two to six cubs. The cubs weigh just over two pounds at birth and nurse until they are six months old. Cubs gradually become more and more independent and at about two years of age strike out alone to find their own territory. Adult females generally produce a litter every two years. In the wild, roughly 50% of cubs survive to independence; however, only 20% of cubs live to establish their own territories.
Habitat and Numbers: In the wild, female Siberian tiger territories average 200 square miles, while male Siberian territories are proportionately larger. Siberian tigers prefer coniferous, scrub oak, and birch woodlands. Wild tigers have lost approximately 93% of their historic range with a 45% loss in just the past 10 years. As few as 3200 tigers still exist in the wild and populations are at a growing risk due to human encroachment, habitat loss, and poaching. In captivity there are an estimated 5,000 tigers in the U.S. alone, though only a small portion of that 5,000 exist in zoos or other sanctuaries.
Other fun Tiger facts:
– Tigers don’t like getting water in their eyes, to the point that they’ll actually enter the water backwards to prevent this from happening.
– Tigers are also powerful swimmers, and have been known to cover up to 20 miles in a single outing!
– A tigers most developed sense is hearing, but they also have excellent binocular and color vision, including the ability to see six times greater at night than a human can.
– A tiger’s canine tooth can grow up to three inches!
– A chomp of a tiger’s jaws can generate pressures of up to 1,000 pounds per square inch, which is enough to crunch through the vertebrae of any animal!
– Most tigers have over 100 stripes!
– A tiger can run at speeds up to 35-40 mph and can leap distances up to 10 meters.
– Though tigers are solitary, if any are found in groups the proper term for multiple tigers is a “streak” of tigers.
All About Golden Tabby’s!
Catty Shack has one lovely “Golden Tabby” tiger in residence named Topaz. Golden Tabby’s (also known as Strawberry Tigers) are very rare, with only 40-50 remaining in entire world. The golden color variation is caused by a genetic recessive gene mutation know as Erythrism, where all black on the tiger is replaced by orange or brown. Golden Tabby’s tend to be softer with thicker fur than the normal color tiger. Like white tigers, all Golden Tabby’s have a Bengal parentage, though through massive interbreeding through the Bengal and Siberian species, most Golden’s, Topaz included, have a lot of Siberian in them. Though possible in the wild, it is believed that all living Golden Tabby’s are in captivity.
All About White Tigers!
Catty Shack has two beautiful white tigers in residence, and they are Hercules and Nokia. White tigers are produced when both parents carry the heterozygous recessive gene for it, though the gene itself occurs in only one out of 10,000 births. White tigers are not albino, since they have dark stripes, but they do have blue eyes and pink noses. Like Golden Tabby’s, all white tigers have a Bengal parentage, though through massive interbreeding between Bengal and Siberian species, a lot of white tigers have a good amount of Siberian in them. Our two white tigers, Hercules and Nokia, have a lot of Siberian in their lineage.
Species: Panthera leo
Lions are the only big cat that prefer to live in social groups. These social groups, or prides, can be as small as 3 or as big as 40 animals and consist of related females and one to three males. Within a pride, lions can be very affectionate with each other and love to touch, lick, and rub on pridemates. The primary responsibility of the male within the pride is protection, while the female is responsible for the hunting and care-giving.
Life Span: 12-15 years in the wild; 20-25 years in captivity
Diet: In the wild, a lion’s diet consists mainly of larger plains animals, including zebras, buffalo, impala, and wildebeest, though they will munch on smaller prey such as rodents and tortoises. A hunt is a cooperative effort, with the females doing the majority of the hunting with a little help from the males. After the prey is brought down, the males in the pride always eat first, with the females going next, then lastly the cubs. A typical meal for an adult male lion is 15 pounds (7 kilograms) of meat, though lions can consume as much as 60 pounds (27 kilograms) at a sitting. Lions will also scavenge kills from other carnivores like hyenas. At Catty Shack, our lions eat roughly 10 -15 pounds of food five to six nights a week. The Catty Shack Ranch follows the USDA guidelines and feeds according to their body weight. They also follow strict nutrition requirements from their veterinarians and also add vitamins and minerals to all their food. Their menu is primarily chicken and red meat. Catty shack only feeds processed meats, never live.
Size: Lions can grow up to 10 feet in length from nose to tail base and can grow up to four feet in height. Females will typically weigh 200 to 400 pounds, while the males can weigh anywhere between 300 and 600 pounds. At Catty Shack, the weight of our lions is strictly monitored to ensure that our residents maintain a healthy weight.
Reproduction: Mating can occur throughout the year when the female is receptive. Females give birth to one to six cubs after a gestation of about three and a half months. The cubs will nurse for about six months and will supplement that diet with meat starting at three months of age. Female lions usually give birth to a litter every two years, but sadly 60-70% of lion cubs will die within their first two years of life. Female cubs will stay in their mothers pride for life unless there is not enough food to support them, in which case they will leave the pride. Young males leave their mother’s pride when they grow large enough to become a threat to the dominant males. Young males leaving the pride will often join together with other related males (brothers/cousins) from their former pride and search for a pride to take over. Dominant males lead a pride for an average of three years before being ousted by younger males. Once a new male takes over, he usually kills all of the cubs within the pride. This is so as not to waste resources on cubs that are not genetically linked to him, as well as to spur the females into heat so he can mate with them to produce his own cubs.
Habitat and Numbers: Lions used to range from parts of Europe and Asia through most of Africa but today they are found mostly in Saharan Africa; however, there is a small population of lions located in the dry Gir Forest of northwest India (known as Asian lions). Lions inhabit a wide range of habitats, including open plains, thick brush, and dry thorn forest. Contrary to their common nickname “King of the Jungle,” these animals do not inhabit forested areas. Population estimations for African lions are around 21,000 individuals, which is roughly half the population estimated in 1950. The Asian lion is estimated at less than 300 individuals. The African lion is listed as a vulnerable species, while the Asian lion is endangered. Habitat destruction and encroachment of humans is a real threat to these animals, along with distemper, which is a disease passed on to them from dogs in nearby villages. Hunting of these animals also exists, especially near farming communities.
Other fun Lion facts:
– A male lion’s mane helps them to look more fierce and can help protect their throats while in battles with other males. Manes will grow darker with age, turning from a bright golden color as a young lion to almost black as an older adult.
– When lions walk, their heels don’t touch the ground.
– A lion can run for short distances at 50 mph and leap as far as 36 feet.
– A lion’s roar can be heard as far as 5 miles away! Lions begin roaring at around 2 years old.
– A lion’s tail is tasselled (otherwise known as a puff-ball!), which can be used to send signals to other lions, including directional messages during hunts and flirtatious messages for mating.
– A lions claws can reach lengths of up to 1 1/2 inches from the base to tip.
– Lions love to sleep! In fact, they sleep up to 20 hours per day!
– Lions and tigers are so similar in body size, structure, and composition, that without their skin it would take an expert to tell these two species apart!
Species: Puma concolor
Status: Least Concern
These cats, often considered the largest of the “small cats” (all wild cats excluding Jaguars, Lions and Tigers) go by five different names in different geographic ranges, including mountain lion (Western United States), panther (South Florida), cougar (British Columbia and Alberta, Canada), puma (Central and South America) and catamount (from Indians seeing the cats atop mountains). As far as we know, all of Catty Shack’s current resident mountain lions are most closely related to Western United States population.
Life Span: 8-13 years in the wild; up to 20 plus years in captivity
Diet: In the wild, mountain lions (or pick your favorite name from above), like most cats, are carnivores. Their diets consist of an array of different size prey, depending on geographic regions, appropriate prey species in those regions, etc. Common meals are elk, deer, sheep, hogs, armadillos, rabbits, rodents, birds and more. At Catty Shack, our mountain lions eat 5-8 pounds of meat five to six nights a week. The Catty Shack Ranch follows the USDA guidelines and feeds according to their body weight. They also follow strict nutrition requirements from their veterinarians and also add vitamins and minerals to all their food. Their menu is primarily chicken and red meat. Catty Shack only feeds processed meats, never live.
Size: From nose to end of tail, male mountain lions average over 7 ½ feet in length, while females average roughly 6 ½ feet. Males usually weigh between 110 and 220 pounds and females between 60 and 140 pounds. At Catty Shack, the weight of our mountain lions covers almost that entire range. Their weights are monitored to help ensure they stay healthy.
Reproduction: Mating is the only time female and male mountain lions socially interact. Although they don’t spend much time together, mating can occur often. In the wild, females average a litter of 2-3 (although 1-6 is possible) cubs every other year. Gestation periods are roughly three months, and births typically occur in dens. Only the females are involved in parenting, which includes protecting and nursing the cubs and teaching the cubs how to be defensive, find shelter and perhaps most important, hunt. Cub survival rate to adulthood is roughly 50%. Cubs remain with their mothers up until 1 ½-2 years old, before moving on to establish their own territories.
Habitat and Numbers: Fortunately, unlike some other species of cats, mountain lions have a “least concern” conservation status. Two factors that lead to their success as a species in the wild are range and adaptability. They have a vast, and in many locations, continuous range (from Canada to South America) that allows them to have a strong population. These cats have large home territories that vary from 10-20 square miles to several hundred square miles. They prefer thick vegetation and forests in remote areas, from the Rocky Mountains, to subtropical South Florida, to the jungles of South America. Despite those positive notes, like other large animals, mountain lions are also negatively affected by humans encroaching on and destroying their habitats (they were once prevalent in the Eastern United States too, and their overall population is thought to be steady or declining). The International Union for Conservation of Nature currently estimates a total wild population of roughly 50,000 breeding animals.
Other fun Cougar facts:
– Mountain lions have a bite pressure of approximately 400 pounds per square inch, not as much as larger lions or tigers, but PLENTY to get the job done.
– Cubs are born with cute spots (more for camouflage instead of cuteness), but completely grow out of them by about two years old.
– Mountain lions have the largest hind legs in the cat family relative to the rest of their body, allowing them to leap 30 feet horizontally from a crouched position and sprint up to 40 miles per hour!
– Right here in Florida is the only sub-population of the species surviving east of the Mississippi River. There are only about 150 Florida Panthers left in the wild in South Florida. It’s our state animal, yet needs more protection and preserved habitat now more than ever!
– Mountain lion tails are vital to their success in the wild, as they use it as balancing stick when stalking and hunting their prey from above.
Species: Panthera pardus
Status: Near Threatened, Threatened or Endangered (depends on locale and which organization’s classification you use)
There are nine recognized subspecies of leopards including African, Indian, Javan, Arabian, Amur, North Chinese, Caucasian (also called Persian), Indochinese and Sri Lankan. Two more subspecies may exist based on analysis of the skulls. Note that spotted and black leopards are NOT distinct species or subspecies. Catty Shack’s current resident leopards are 1 spotted leopard and 4 black leopards.
Lifespan: Leopards may live 12 to 15 years in the wild. 20-25 years in captivity.
Diet: In the wild, leopards survive on a wide variety of kill. They are opportunistic hunters. They can eat hooved animals and monkeys but also rodents, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, insects and sometimes smaller predators. Hunting mostly at night, they are known for silently stalking their prey, pouncing and quickly strangling. Their strength and agility allow them to climb a tree, carrying in their mouth much larger animals ( 2 to 3 times their size) to a ‘safe’ hiding place. Leopards coexist with other predators such as lions, tigers, hyenas and wild dogs by hunting for different prey and avoiding areas where others prevail. Catty Shack’s leopards eat 5-7 pounds of food five or six nights a week. The Catty Shack Ranch follows the USDA guidelines and feeds according to their body weight. They also follow strict nutrition requirements from their veterinarians and also add vitamins and minerals to all their food. Their menu is primarily chicken, some fish and red meat. Catty Shack only feeds processed meats, never live.
Size: Leopards are the smallest of the four big cats in the ‘Panthera’ genus. Tigers, lions and jaguars are larger. Their head and body length may be 3 to 5.5 feet with their tail adding another 2 to 3.5 feet. Their body is relatively long compared with their leg length and shoulder height. Males are typically about 1/3 larger than females. Due to the variety of habitats and prey, their range of weights is wide. Males may weigh 66 to 200 pounds and females from 50 to 130 pounds.
Reproduction: Females may deliver cubs anytime during the year after a gestation period of 90 to 105 days. The litter is usual 2 to 4 cubs weighing about one pound each. The cubs nurse for 3 months or longer and begin to follow their mother on hunts at 3 months of age. While they may fend for themselves at one year old, they typically remain with their mother for 18 to 24 months. The first year mortality is high – between 40 and 50%.
Habitat and Numbers: In the wild, male leopards ranges are much greater than those of females (12 to 30 square miles for the males and 6 square miles for the females). Males generally do not have overlapping territories although males and females may overlap. Leopards live mainly in grasslands, woodlands and forests adjacent to rivers. Their adaptability allows them to survive in climates where temperatures can reach below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Leopards live solitary lives. There may be 50,000 alive in the wild today.
Black Leopards: Black leopards are in the same species as spotted leopards. Their black color, known as melanism is a recessive trait. Their spots can be seen through the black fur. Two black leopard parents produce black cubs. Two spotted leopards can produce black cubs if the recessive gene is present.
Black leopards and black jaguars are sometimes called ‘black panthers.’
In the wild, black leopards are mainly found in Asia. They are much less common in Africa. In some areas of the Malay Peninsula they are more common than spotted leopards. Their black coloring gives them an advantage when hunting at night.
Other fun Leopard facts:
– Leopards are known for their climbing ability. They rest in trees, hide their food in trees and may hide their cubs in trees for safety. They climb down from trees head first.
– They are powerful swimmers but not as strong as tigers are.
– Leopards are agile. They can run over 36 miles per hour, leap 20 feet horizontally and almost 10 feet vertically.
– They grunt, roar, meow and make a raspy coughing sound.
Some differences between Spotted Cats – Leopards, Jaguars and Cheetahs:
– Cheetahs are longer, thinner and taller than leopards. They coexist with leopards in Africa.
– Jaguars are larger than leopards, have a more muscular appearance and live in Central and South America, where there are no leopards.
– Leopards’ spots on their body and head are in a circular to square ‘rosette’ shape. The color in the center of the rosette matches the rest of the animal’s body. The spots on the head and legs are solid. Cheetahs have simple solid black spots. Jaguars have rosette spots with a small spot inside the rosette.
Species: Lynx rufus
Status: The Mexican bobcat is listed as endangered, but no other subspecies is currently protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Bobcats, also known as wildcats, are notable for their “bobbed” tail, which is typically four to seven inches in length. Their color is typically reddish-brown with black spots. Their faces are surrounded with a ruff like fur and their ears are tufted, which allow for greater hearing. They belong to the Lynx genus and are the smallest of the four species of Lynx.
Lifespan: In the wild, bobcats will live about 12 to 13 years. In captivity though, bobcats can live up to 32 years.
Diet: Small animals such as snowshoe hare, rabbits, foxes, birds, mice, and other rodents make up the staple diet of the bobcat; however, the bobcat is capable of bringing down prey up to ten times their body weight, such as an adult deer. The Catty Shack Ranch follows the USDA guidelines and feeds according to their body weight. They also follow strict nutrition requirements from their veterinarians and also add vitamins and minerals to all their food. The bobcats in residence at Catty Shack are fed chicken, beef, and a special treat, raw eggs!
Size: Bobcats can grow up to 41 inches from head to tail base. Males weigh an average of 26 pounds, while females average 20 pounds.
Reproduction: Bobcats will generally mate in late winter, but can mate all year depending upon their mating success. Courtship between the male and female lasts one to two days, after which they go their separate ways. Females will produce litters of one to six babies after a gestation period of 60 to 70 days, and the newborns weigh between 10 and 12 ounces at birth. Kittens will nurse for the first two months and then will begin exclusively eating solid food provided by their mother. They begin learning to hunt at around five months old and then, when they are between 8 and 11 months, they will leave their mother in search of their own territory. Females will generally begin reproducing at two years of age.
Habitat and Numbers: Bobcats live throughout the U.S. and in parts of Mexico and southern Canada. Bobcats can tolerate many different types of habitats including temperate forests, mountains, deserts, swamps, and scrubland. The typical range of a male bobcat covers 25 to 30 square miles, depending upon food resources, and the female maintains approximately five square miles of territory. Bobcats maintain several dens throughout their territory for shelter and safety. Current estimations of the bobcat population run anywhere between 725,000 to 1,020,000 wild individuals. Hunting and trapping of these animals exists throughout most of their range, and they are often killed for their beautiful fur.
Other fun Bobcat facts:
– Bobcats will store their left over food for later, often covering it with leaves or grass to hide it from other animals.
– Bobcats are the most common wildcat found in North America.
– Bobcat prints have four round pad prints on both their front and back legs; however, the paws on their forelegs actually have five toes. The fifth toe is not found in the print due to the high placement on its leg.
– Bobcats have great eyesight and hearing; however, their sense of smell is not acute.
– Speeds of a bobcat can reach up to 31 miles per hour!
– Bobcats are found only in North America. Their cousins, the Lynx, are located elsewhere on the planet and are known as the Canada Lynx, Eurasian Lynx, and Iberian Lynx.
– Bobcats can leap up to 25 feet!
– When walking, bobcats will place their back feet in the print of their front feet to lessen the amount of noise they make.
– Bobcats are exclusively carnivorous.
Species: Nasua narica (White-Nosed Coati), Nasua nasua (Brown-nosed Coati)
Status: Not threatened
Coatimundi (pronounced ko-WAH-ti-MUN-dee) are a member of the raccoon family, sharing the ringed tail and the inquisitive nature. However, the raccoon is nocturnal and the coatimundi is typically active during the day. The white-nosed coatimundi is a native of Central and South America, and can even be found in the desert areas of the American Southwest. The brown-nosed coatimundi lives only in South America.
Lifespan: normally 7-10 years in the wild, up to 17 years in captivity
Diet: Coatis are omnivores, eating both meat and plants. In the wild, they eat fruits, berries, insects, birds, eggs, lizards, and even snakes and small mammals like mice and squirrels. They use their long, probe-like nose for searching through leaves, crevices, and holes to find their favorite foods. The long claws on their feet are good for tearing apart rotting logs. The Catty Shack Ranch follows the USDA guidelines and feeds according to their body weight. They also follow strict nutrition requirements from their veterinarians and also add vitamins and minerals to all their food. We feed our coatis mostly chicken and sometimes beef, fruit like melons, oranges, and tangerines; and eggs. One special treat the coatis love is marshmallows!
Size: Coatis grow to a length of 20-24 inches, plus they have a tail that is another 24 inches long. They can weigh from 7-15 pounds.
Reproduction: Coatis reach sexual maturity at about 2 years of age. Male coatis join the band of females during the breeding season, varying by location from October to March. After breeding, the females kick the males out of the group and prepare their nest, usually high in the trees. Gestation lasts for about 77 days and the mother produces 2-6 young. Coati young are blind for 12 days and stay in the nest until they are about 6 weeks old. They are weaned by the time they are 4 months old.
Habitat and Numbers: Coatimundi can inhabit almost any type of terrain from coastal mangrove forests to dense tropical forests, lowland savannas, and even deserts. They are plentiful throughout much of their range. They help control populations of mice and insect pests while serving as a source of food for larger predators, most notably big cats. Coatimundi live in groups of 5-20 or more females and their young. Males live generally solitary lives and are only allowed in the group for mating. This is to prevent males from eating the young. For the same reason, young male coatis are ejected from the group when they reach 2 years of age. Coatis are considered agricultural pests in some areas and have even been known to take poultry. They are also hunted for their meat.
Other Fun Coati Facts:
– The coati’s tail can be longer than its head and body combined. It uses the tail for balance when climbing trees and to identify group members in tall grass on the ground.
– Their ankles are double jointed and extremely flexible. This enables the coati to descend a tree headfirst.
– The legs and claws of a coati are strong enough to hold onto tree limbs with the back feet and eat with the front ones.
– Coati have a quirky habit of dipping their noses in something with a flowery or perfumed aroma and rubbing it into their tails.
– Coatis can growl, hiss, and bark when alarmed, but their normal communication is a high-pitched squeak.
– The coatimundi is also called the hog-nosed coon, snookum bear and Brazilian aardvark.
Species: Vulpes vulpes (Red fox)
Status: Least Concern
The silver fox is a melanistic form of the red fox. They may represent about 10% of the red fox population. The silver fox’s coloration can range from black to bluish gray to silver with a white-tipped tail. Silver hairs may be widely scattered all over their body. Their pelt is prized in the fur industry and thus, they are raised on farms for fur production. They have a thick dark undercoat with an outer coat which may be 2 inches longer than the undercoat. Their fur is soft and glossy and the soles of their feet are thickly coated.
Lifespan: Red foxes have a lifespan of 3 years in the wild and 10 to 12 years in captivity.
Diet: Silver foxes are opportunistic hunters and eaters. They prefer a carnivorous diet but can rely on plant material when meat is scarce. In the wild, they use different strategies to hunt different prey. When they hunt small animals, they rely on sound to locate the prey and then spring up to pin the victim to the ground and kill by biting it. For larger ground prey, they rely on stalking and rapid pursuit. Catty Shack’s silver fox eats 3-5 pounds of food 5 or 6 nights a week. The Catty Shack Ranch follows the USDA guidelines and feeds according to their body weight. They also follow strict nutrition requirements from their veterinarians and also add vitamins and minerals to all their food.
Size: Red foxes may range from 17 to 35 inches long (head and body) with a tail from 12 to 22 inches long. They may weigh 6 to over 20 pounds. Females are usually smaller than males.
Reproduction: In the wild, silver foxes do not necessarily mate only with similar colored individuals. They can mate with other red foxes or individuals who are silver/red mixes. In captivity, they are bred to others of the same color. Silver foxes reach sexual maturity by 10 months of age. Mating occurs once a year, usually in January and February. Males and females are generally seasonally monogamous during the mating season. Gestation is about 52 days and litters can range from 1 to 14 pups, averaging 3 to 6 pups. Larger litters occur when the mother is more mature and when food is abundant. The male will help provide food for the mother and pups and helps protect the den. Unmated females will also help raise a large litter. The pups venture outside the den at 4 to 5 weeks of age and are weaned by 8 to 10 weeks of age. They remain with their mother until their first autumn.
Habitat and Numbers: Silver foxes may be found over much of the northern hemisphere and even in Australia. Humans introduced them to many habitats for hunting purposes. In North America, they are found mostly in the Northwest although historically they were trapped in the East. In Russia, they are found predominantly in Siberia and in the Caucasus mountain region.
Other fun Silver Fox facts:
– Silver foxes use scent marking as a social record, for communication and to display dominance.
– An extensive long-term experiment on domestication of silver foxes has been carried out in Russia. Starting in the 1950’s through selective breeding for tameness, successive generations of silver foxes became tamer and more dog-like. They are more friendly to humans (even seeking attention), wag their tails when happy and vocalize and bark like dogs. Their coats have also developed patterns including spots like dogs, their ears have become floppier and they have lost their distinctive musky fox smell.