Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Nature/Cats/Wild cats
Caracals are distributed over Africa and West Asia. Their habitat is dry steppes and semi-deserts, but also woodlands, savanna, and scrub forest. They are solitary, or paired, territorial cats.
Today, most cheetahs are found in sub-Saharan Africa, though a few are still seen in Iran. In the past, they used to be found throughout northern India and Iran. They prefer to live in semi-deserts, savannas, prairies, and thick brush. Because they rely upon speed to hunt, they avoid dense forests.
Jaguars live in the rain forests and more open countryside in South and Central America, and are the largest members of the cat family there. Jaguars are strong swimmers and climbers, and they often prefer to live by rivers, in swamps, and in dense forest with thick cover for stalking prey. Jaguars once lived as far north as the southwestern United States. Some of these cats are once again migrating north from Mexico.
Leopards live in the Middle East, parts of Asia, and Africa. This means they live in more places than any other big cat.
Despite the nickname King of the Jungle, most lions live on the flat, grassy plains called savannas. In ancient times, lions roamed nearly every continent. Today, they can commonly be found across central and southern Africa. There is also a small population in the Gir forest of India on the continent of Asia.
The four species of lynx are very widespread. The European Lynx lives in northern Europe and Asia. The Canadian Lynx lives in North America. The Iberian (or Spanish) Lynx is one of the most highly endangered cats and only lives in wild parts of Spain. Bobcats are the smallest type of lynx, living in North America. Because they hunt small prey, they live in a wide variety of habitats.
Ocelots mostly live in South and Central America, but there are some as far north as the very southern reaches of the United States of America. There are eleven different types (or subspecies) of ocelot. These live in different parts of the south of the Americas.
Pumas are widely spread in North, Central and South America. They can be seen in a variety of habitats from desert to forest all the way from northern British Columbia in the north to the southern end of the Andes mountain range. Pumas were driven out of the eastern half of North America by human pressure; a small population remains in Florida and occasionally there are puma sightings in other eastern states. Other names for Pumas are Catamount, Mountain Lion, Cougar, and Panther.
Servals live in the savannahs (grasslands) of Africa. This allows them to see both their prey and their predators. As a medium sized cat they have to be wary of lions and hyenas. Servals are good swimmers and often live near open water where they can take an occasional dip to hunt for fish or swipe at the birds that stop by.
Tigers live in forests and grasslands of eastern and southeastern Asia. They live in countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, Indonesia (Sumatra), and the Russian Far East. The Bengal Tiger is the national animal of India.
The European Wild Cat lives in forests of Western, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in Scotland and Turkey; it is not found in Scandinavia, Iceland, England, Wales, or Ireland. The African Wild Cat is found in deserts and savannahs of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. The Asiatic Wild Cat primarily inhabits the scrub desert of Central Asia.