Panthers are cats belonging to the Panthera species and are typically color variations of any of several species of large cat. Black panther, as well as white panthers may actually be jaguars, leopards, tigers or cougars, depending upon the areas in which they dwell. A gene mutation is usually responsible for the coloration of these cats. Normally, typical markings can still be seen up close, but are hidden by the stark coloration of the black or white fur.
The genetic deformity that creates this coloration also has a tendency to cause these cats to be more aggressive than their normal counterparts. This may be where the ‘black panther’ gets its reputation in stories and mythological tales brought down through the ages.