25 “Big Cat” Pictures As Captured By A Cat Whisperer

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There are many excellent wildlife photographers, some of whom specialize in snapping shots of specific species. There is a photographer who has a uncanny knack for capturing images of big cats like the tiger, lion, jaguar, and leopard and the smaller “large cats” like the cougar, lynx and caracal. If he is a cat whisperer, wouldn’t all the kitties be clamoring to have this guy take their photo? Akishin Vyacheslav is a Russian photographer who is like a cat whisperer, traveling to zoos and reserves to snap shots that show us “how similar to human emotions” these cats can portray. Most of us have been around small domesticated cats, but using 25 of a cat whisperer’s extraordinary images, here are 10 large cats that we might not otherwise get close enough to say, “here pretty kitty kitty, smile for the camera.”

Tiger

tigers

(image credits: Акишин Вячеслав)

2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger but there may be as few as 3,200 tigers left in the world. The tiger is the most powerful, largest and heaviest of the Asian big cat species. Above is a tiger wallowing in the snow, licking its paw, and one posed as if playing peek-a-boo with photographer Akishin Vyacheslav. He states, “I have a desire to show beauty and grace of these remarkable animals.”

White Tiger

white_tigers

(image credits: Akishin Vyacheslav)

White tigers are the same species as other tigers, but do not have the orange color due to a recessive gene that creates the pale coloring. Akishin Vyacheslav wants to show us how human these large cats can be. He calls the top left photo “Well do not be angry, Mom.” The pink nose and blue eyes of the white tiger is striking in both pictures of the tiger in the snow and the tiger soaking in the water.

Lion

lions

(image credits: photosight)

Lions are largest of the African big cat species. The lion is the tallest of the felines and is the second-heaviest big cat after the tiger. The male lion is roaring in the snow as if it is a bit cranky. Only the true “big cats” are capable of roaring. The female lion’s sneer is interpreted by the photographer as the zoo is bothering her, but she may be impersonating Elvis?

Leopard

leopard

(image credits: photoanimal)

The leopard and the jaguar are often difficult to distinguish which is which. The jaguar is third-largest big cat after the tiger and the lion, while the leopard is the smallest of the four big cats. A leopard’s head is not as large as the jaguar’s and the leopard’s spots are smaller and more tightly clustered rosettes without the central spots found on most jaguars. The biggest difference between these two felines is that they live on different continents. The bottom right image is called “Gossips.”

Black Panther

panther

(image credits: sinkau686.photosight)

Black panthers can actually be several species of large cats with an increased amount of dark pigmentation. Only two types of big cats are scientifically recognized as legitimate black panthers, the black  jaguar and the black leopard. This feline has its typical markings upon close inspection. Often times people will call any large black cat a panther, whether it is a cougar, jaguarundi, bobcat or lynx. Their dark coloring may give them an advantage in the darker, dense regions of the forest where light levels are lower.

Cheetah

cheetah

(image credits: sinkau686.photosight)

The cheetah is the fastest land animal. It is a large cat and considered a big cat by the more expansive definition. The cheetah can accelerate from 0 to 64 mph in three seconds. Besides the narrow waist and deep chest of a cheetah, these felines have “black tears” running from the corners of their eyes. Unlike “real” big cats, the cheetah can purr, but cannot roar.

Puma

puma

(image credits: Akishin Vyacheslav)

The puma is also known as the cougar, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending upon the region where they live. In fact, these slender agile cats hold the Guinness record for the animal with the highest number of names, including over 40 names in the English language alone. Cougars are almost as large as jaguars, but are less muscular and not as powerful. Although pumas resemble the domestic cat, they are about the same size as an adult human. Therefore, other than humans, no species preys upon mature pumas in the wild.

Snow Leopard

snow leopard

(image credits: Акишин Вячеслав)

Snow leopards are smaller than the other big cats and have long thick fur, an adaptation to survive the cold mountainous regions where they live. They have stocky bodies, small rounded ears, and thick whitish fur on their bellies, all to help minimize heat loss. Snow leopards have wide feet that help them walk in the snow. They use their thick furry tails like a blanket across their faces when they sleep, again to help them hold in heat.

Lynx

lynx

(image credits: Akishin Vyacheslav)

The lynx have short tails and distinguishing tufts of black hair on the tip of their ears. The baby lynx will stay with its mother for one winter, about a total time of nine months, before going out on their own to survive. The smallest lynx species are the bobcat and the Canada lynx, but a maximum of 88 lbs has been seen in different variations of the lynx species depending upon what area this feline lives.

Caracal

Caracal

(image credits: photosight)

The caracal is the quickest yet heaviest of all small cats. Males weigh between 28-40 lbs, while females weigh about 24 lbs. These cat are about 2-3 feet long, with another 1 foot of tail. In Africa, caracals are considered a type of vermin that preys on domesticated livestock. They hide well and are rarely seen in the wild. At the Moscow Zoo, this caracal was hybridised with the domestic cat.

You can find more of Akishin Vyacheslav’s (Акишин Вячеслав) photos here.

Crazy “Big Cat” Sounds

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Here are more “big cats” so you can hear the funny noises that they make.

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