Life Expectancy and Mortality

male panther FP59 showing battle injuries

Panthers can live up to 20 years or more in the wild. Female kittens have a good chance of living 10 years or more. Males have a tougher time, but if they survive to five or six years old, they are likely to live even longer to 10 or more years.

The two most common causes of panther deaths are vehicle collisions and panthers killing other panthers (intraspecific aggression).

 

Causes of Death for All Known Panther MortalitiesPie chart showing causes of panther deaths with percentages (see caption)

The two most common causes of death are collisions with vehicles and fights with other panthers.

Vehicle 59%,  Intra Specific Aggression, 17%, Unknown 13%, Other 7%, and Disease 4%.

 

Usually adult males kill juvenile males, who often enter the adults’ ranges in search of females. Males also have killed females, and younger males have killed older males. Other causes of death among panthers include feline leukemia, illegal shootings, bacterial infections, rabies and pseudorabies.

Concurrent with increasing panther population numbers, the number of Florida panthers killed by collisions with vehicles has been on the increase since 2000. Prior to 2000, panther roadkills were four or fewer a year, but beginning in 2000, these numbers have ranged from six to 34 annually.

 

Number of Panther Roadkills (1981-2016)numberofroadkills.jpg

As panther numbers increased over time, the number of panther roadkills have also been on the rise.  Since 2000, the number of roadkills has ranged from 6 to 34 annually.

 

Male panthers represent 60 percent of the vehicle mortalities.

 

All Panther Roadkills by SexPie chart showing percentages of male and female road kills (see caption)

More male panthers are killed in vehicle collisions than female panthers.


Males have larger home ranges than females, and their ranges often include roads. Young male panthers searching for their own ranges often end up crossing roads more frequently than adult panthers. This places them at a greater risk of colliding with a vehicle. Panthers less than 3 years old represent 70 percent of all roadkills; 22 percent of these deaths were kittens young enough to still be with their mother.

 

Ages (years) of panthers killed by vehicle collisions 1972-2016Pie chart showing ages of panthers killed by vehicle collisions (see caption)

Most panthers killed in vehicle collisions are three years of age or less.

Age 1 year or less: 22%, Age 1-2: 25%, Age 2-3: 23%, Age 3-4: 15%, and Age over 4: 15%.

 



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