North America is home to six species of wild cat. However, only one of the six is labeled a big cat, and only three have large populations.1

These six species are:1

  • Bobcat
  • Puma
  • Lynx
  • Ocelot
  • Jaguar
  • Jaguarundi

Get a look at them down below!

1. Bobcat
These are the most abundant wild cats in the U.S. They often get confused with lynxes since they look very similar. These cats are very adaptable and live in forest, mountain, and semi-desert areas. Read more about their appearance and prey on our blog!
2. Puma
Pumas have several names: panther, cougar, and catamount. They stalk their prey before taking them down, and they’ll go after deer, coyotes, and elk. They have very large territories – about 40 times more than bobcats! They’re considered an “umbrella species” – check out more info!
3. Lynx
Lynxes tend to be found in remote areas away from humans. The ones found in North America, known as the Canada Lynx, are smaller than the species found overseas, the Eurasian Lynx. Lynxes are labeled as threatened in North America. Discover more about this species and the Iberian Lynx in Lynxes: What You Need To Know About These Elusive Cats!
4. Ocelot
Ocelots are found from Texas to Argentina. They’re nocturnal and they can share territory with other wild cats because they go after different prey, so there’s no conflict. They’re considered endangered in Texas but of least concern overall. Check out what adaptations they have to take down their prey and what predators they need to watch out for.
5. Jaguar
Jaguars are the largest cat in the U.S. They are susceptible to habitat fragmentation, which is detrimental to a healthy population. They’ve lost over half their territory since the late 1800s. Click here for more info – including how to tell them apart from leopards and what conservation strategies can help their population numbers.
6. Jaguarundi
Jaguarundis can be found from the south of Texas to the north of Argentina. They are diurnal, which means they’re active during the day. They’re also solitary.2 Out of this list of wild cats, they are the smallest. When they hunt, they go after rodents, reptiles, and bird species.1

North American carnivores are integral to their environment.

We want to spread the word about how important they are so more people can understand and appreciate these essential animals. Many of our carnivores struggle in their ecosystems due to human activity. When we can spread the truth about our wildlife, we can make better decisions for them.
Please take a moment to donate to the Wolf Center.

Our carnivores need you now more than ever. None of this can get done without you.

Click here or on the button below to donate (consider a recurring donation – they’re extra helpful throughout the year.)