Panther (felts pardus, Linn.), a large African spotted cat, considered by Temminck and most modern naturalists as a variety of the leopard (F. leopardus, Linn, or L. varius, Gray), but regarded by Cuvier, Hamilton Smith, and others, as a true species. Skins of all the spotted cats vary so much, even the two sides of the same animal being unlike, that it is difficult to pronounce on the identity of these two animals; travellers and furriers consider them the same, and naturalists have been ready to follow their opinion. The description of the panther by Linnaeus is false, and others of the older naturalists confound this animal with the jaguar (F. onca) of South America. Cuvier gives them as separate, this animal being the pardalis of the Greeks and the panther a of the Romans, and says if any leopard was by them confounded with it, it was the cheetah or hunting leopard (F. jubata). If not distinct species, the panther and leopard are very marked varieties. The former is more powerful, darker colored, with the crowded markings arranged with considerable regularity, and the tail longer in proportion; II. Smith describes one as 5 1/4 ft. long without the tail, and 2 3/4 ft. high at the shoulder; of a buff yellow color, approaching to ochrey on the back and sides, and with no white anywhere; with seven vertical rows of imperfect dark rings on the sides, each formed by an assemblage of five or six simple spots, darkest within the rings, descending even to the knees; the tail spotted to the end, and a narrow black bar across the lower part of the throat; in the leopard the rings are more numerous and the spots smaller.
This is probably the animal so abundantly supplied to the public spectacles of ancient Rome, hundreds having been exhibited together. The panther is less common than the leopard, and confined chiefly, if not entirely, to Africa; it is an expert climber, very active, and readily trained; the female is gravid nine weeks, and the young are born blind. The panther of South America is the jaguar, and of North America the cou-guar. (See Leopard).