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How Fast Can A Black Panther Run? (Explained)

Portrait of a black jaguar in the forest

 

One of the most dangerous animals in the jungle is the black panther.

Due to its dark fur, it’s great at sneaking up on prey at night and ambushing them before they’re even aware that the panther is there.

However, now and then, a panther’s ambush doesn’t go as planned, and they need to chase down their prey.

So just how fast can a black panther run?

To find out if you can outrun a black panther, let’s take a deeper look into how fast a black panther can run and other interesting facts about black panthers.

 

How Fast Can A Black Panther Run?

Black jaguar or panther

 

A black panther can run at a top speed of either 35 or 51 miles per hour, depending on its species.

A black panther isn’t its own species. It’s instead either a leopard or jaguar that has a particular gene that makes its coat black.

If you were to look closely at a black panther, you’d see the spots that mark it as either a leopard or jaguar.

While leopards and jaguars are closely related, they do have different species classifications.

A leopard is the Panthera pardus species while a jaguar is the Panthera onca species.

As such, they both have different top speeds.

A leopard’s top speed is 35 miles per hour.

A jaguar’s top speed is 51 miles per hour.

As such, a black panther’s top speed may be either 35 or 51 mph depending on if it’s a leopard or jaguar.

 

Can A Human Outrun A Black Panther?

man running

 

Considering how fast black panthers can run, you may wonder if you can outrun one if you ever come face-to-face with one.

The answer is probably not.

The fastest a human has ever run on record is Usain Bolt who ran 27.5 miles per hour during a 100-meter dash.

Considering that Bolt is an Olympic winner, there’s no question that the average person probably can’t reach running speeds of 27.5 miles per hour.

Since a leopard black panther can reach top speeds of 35 miles per hour, it’s unlikely that even Bolt could outrun a panther.

If the black panther is a jaguar, then its top speed of 51 miles per hour is going to catch any human.

The only way a human might be able to survive running from a panther is if they’re at enough of a distance from them to get a massive head start.

Then they might be able to reach safety.

Otherwise, the panther is probably going to outpace them quickly and take them down.

If you ever encounter a black panther in the wild, you probably shouldn’t try to outrun it.

 

Where Are Black Panthers Located?

Black Panther taken at the Wildlife Heritage

 

Since you can’t outrun a black panther, the best thing you can do is stay clear of them.

That means knowing where their natural habitats are.

If you find yourself in those areas, then you can take the necessary precautions to avoid coming into contact with a black panther.

Black panthers live primarily in South Africa and Southeast Asia.

You can find them in the following countries:

  • Burma
  • Nepal
  • Southern India
  • Indonesia
  • Southern Malaysia
  • Southwest China

Black panthers prefer to live in hot tropical areas because they have an easier time hunting there.

In particular, the dense foliage provides excellent cover for them.

Since they’re able to swim and climb trees, they use that to their advantage when hunting.

Their dark fur also enables them to blend in with their surroundings a lot easier.

They can hunt at night or hide within the shadows of the dense foliage while they sneak up on their prey.

When their prey least suspects it, they can then pounce or attack them from above or from the brush.

Although they prefer to live in dense tropical rainforests, you can find them in other habitats, too.

One of the reasons they’re able to adapt to other habitats a bit easier than other animals is because they have a large diet.

While they’re carnivores, they’re not beholden to one particular prey over another.

They’ll eat any kind of meat that they can get.

Their size and hunting abilities enable them to eat things like mammals ranging from monkeys to deer.

They also eat reptiles like lizards and turtles.

When they can get them, they’ll even eat birds.

Since their diet is diverse, they’re able to find and get food easier in various habitats than other animals.

If you’re heading to any of those regions listed above, you’ll want to keep an eye out for black panthers.

 

What Do Black Panthers Eat?

Melanistic leopard are also called black panther

 

Black panthers are apex predators.

They’re at the top of the food chain.

Because of their position, they eat anything they can get their paws on.

Here are some of the animals that often find themselves as the main course for a black panther’s meal.

 

1. Wild Boars

Wild boar, sus scrofa, standing on fresh grass

 

A common staple of food for black panthers is wild boar or wild pigs.

They spread throughout the areas that black panthers inhabit.

They’re nocturnal, like black panthers, and spend the night hours foraging for food.

When the sun rises, they return to their nest or pit which is usually compromised of leaves and twigs.

They sleep there during the day until the night returns, and they go back to foraging for food.

Wild boars either live in loose social groups or on their own, depending on their sex.

Female boars tend to live in loose social groups.

Sometimes the females are of breeding age and sometimes they’re mothers with their young.

A female boar might hang out with one group for a time before eventually switching to another group that comes along.

Males, on the other hand, live on their own.

They also fight other males for the chance to mate with a female during the breeding season.

One of the reasons wild boards are so widely spread is because of their diet.

Like black panthers, they’ll eat almost anything.

They’re omnivores which means they eat both plants and meat.

Most of their diet comes from plants, however.

They’ll use their snout to dig up the ground for roots and other plants.

When the flowers and fruit are gone during the winter, they’ll focus on foraging for nuts.

When they can’t find plants, a boar will focus on eating small bugs and lizards.

They’ll also eat the abandoned carcass that a predator left behind.

Because boar can become quite large, they provide black panthers with an excellent meal.

 

2. Deer

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) buck in the forest at Martin Nature Park in Oklahoma City

 

Another staple of their diet is deer.

While those in America might be more familiar with white-tailed deer, there are several other species of deer throughout the world.

The ones that live primarily in Southeast China are muntjacs.

They’re small with some only coming up to a meter in size.

They use their short stature to hide under bushes and leaves from predators.

They’re also nocturnal.

They spend most of their time awake foraging for food on the jungle floors.

When the day arrives, they return to a safe place where they sleep during the day.

Otherwise, they’re most active at dusk and dawn.

Like other species of deer, muntjacs eat grass.

They spend most of their time grazing while they travel through the jungle.

Since they’re nocturnal like black panthers, that also means that they’re more likely to cross paths with the predator.

Deer are fast and can sometimes escape a panther by disappearing beneath some bushes.

However, if the black panther is hunting from above, it might spot the deer and attack it before it has a chance to escape.

Since muntjacs are quite common in the jungle, they’re the main part of a black panther’s diet.

 

3. Small Fish

Freshwater fish grass carp

 

Another animal that black panthers sometimes eat is small fish.

Because tropical rainforests often get a lot of rain, there are several rivers and streams that pass through them.

Small fish congregate in these rivers on their way to bigger bodies of water.

Since black panthers are excellent swimmers, it isn’t impossible for them to get fish while wading in the water.

Fish can be pretty quick, however, so a panther might not use fish as their main source of food if they can help it.

Like other predators, black panthers have to determine if a certain type of prey is worth the effort.

If they’re not going to get the calories back that they expend to chase the animal, they might not go for it.

An exception might be if they’re starving and desperate for food.

Small fish that get caught in a low-tide pool or splash out of a river are ideal prey for panthers.

Even though fish may not be the main source of food for black panthers, it’s a great supplement to their diet when they can’t find anything else.

 

4. Crocodiles

small crocodile with an open mouth

 

Black panthers don’t typically eat crocodiles, but they can if they need to.

Crocodiles can sometimes live in the same areas or habitats that black panthers do.

If a black panther is fishing, it might come across a crocodile.

If the crocodile is small or young, then the panther might try to kill and eat it.

Crocodiles are a great source of meat, after all.

However, they tend not to get into fights with larger crocodiles.

They’re also apex predators and at the top of the food chain.

While it’s possible that a panther could kill an adult crocodile, it would be a tough fight.

As such, black panthers only eat crocodiles when they’re young.

 

5. Monkeys

Surprised funny monkey

 

Another staple of a black panther’s diet is monkeys.

There are several different species of monkeys that make up the rainforests in Southeast Asia and South Africa.

Since they like to spend time in trees, it keeps them out of the hands of most predators.

However, because the black panther can climb trees, it allows the panther to sneak up on a monkey and eat it.

Monkeys are omnivores.

They spend most of their time eating plants like fruit.

However, they’re also known to eat bugs, eggs, and small lizards.

A few will even eat other monkeys if they’re hungry enough.

Most monkeys are active during the day.

They spend the day getting food, traversing the jungle, taking care of young, and being social.

At night, they go to sleep.

This is when they’re most vulnerable and when a black panther can sneak up on them.

There are monkeys of all shapes and sizes in the jungles that black panthers call home.

Because of that, some monkeys might be a nice snack while others may provide a full meal for a black panther.

 

6. Lizards

Water monitor lizard

 

A final type of animal that black panthers tend to eat is lizards.

Tons of different lizards live in South Africa or Southeast Asia.

Some are small lizards while others are huge lizards like the Komodo Dragon.

Black panthers tend to eat smaller lizards because they’re easier to take down.

Lizards tend to sit around and wait for prey to emerge rather than hunt.

They like to eat bugs, eggs, and some berries.

Many lizards will simply perch themselves on a rock or branch and wait for something to fly near it.

Then they’ll attack.

Since they spend a good amount of time just sitting, it’s easy for panthers to sneak up and kill them.

Lizards aren’t always that fast either, so it doesn’t take too much effort for a panther to kill one.

The problem with lizards is that they don’t always have enough meat on them.

They tend to be more of a snack or supplement to a black panther’s main diet.

 

What To Do If You Come Across A Black Panther

Black panther walks through the jungle

 

Coming across any wild animal can be frightening, but if you happen to cross paths with a black panther, you might panic.

There are a few things that you can do that can help you survive an encounter with a black panther.

Here’s what you should do if you come across a black panther.

 

1. Don’t Let Children Wander Off

One of the first things you should do when walking in an area that has black panther activity is to keep everyone together.

You especially want to keep an eye on young children.

Because they’re small, they resemble a prey species to a panther, which might encourage an attack.

By keeping everyone together, you can protect them and keep everyone calm.

Panthers might also be less eager to try to fight when there’s a large group of people standing together.

 

2. Don’t Run

One of the first instincts you might have is to turn and run.

You should avoid that urge and instead hold your ground.

You also don’t want to crouch down or make yourself smaller.

This can also make you look like a prey species.

You’ll want to do the opposite.

Try to make yourself look bigger.

If you look more menacing, the black panther may be less inclined to try and take you down.

 

3. Give The Panther Space

In most cases, a black panther isn’t out to hunt humans.

They’re just trying to get somewhere.

The best thing you can do is slowly walk backward and move to the side.

By giving the panther space, they can move past you without feeling threatened and go along their way.

You should never turn your back on a panther.

 

Conclusion

Black panthers are extremely fast predators.

While they may not be as fast as other animals, they can easily outrun a human.

Knowing what to do if you ever come across a black panther can save your life.


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