Cougar (Puma concolor)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family:    Felidae
Size:    Length: 5 to 9 feet (1.5 to 2.7 m)
Weight: 75 to 220 pounds (34.0 to 99.8 kg)
Diet: Large hoofed mammals, as well as wild hogs, raccoons, rabbits, rodents, porcupines and birds. 
Distribution: North America
Young:  1 to 5 kittens, every other year
Animal Predators:  Larger carnivores, eagles and large hawks prey on kittens
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Cub or Kitten
Lifespan: 8 years in the wild and 19 years in captivity



·       Cougars are also known as panthers, puma, catamounts and mountain lions. 

·       Cougars once had the widest ranges of all American terrestrial mammals, from coast to coast in North America.

·       The bloodcurdling mating call of the cougar resembles a woman’s scream.

·       The original scientific name given to the cougar was Felis concolor, which literally means “the cat of one colour.



Cougars are large and muscular cats with a long tail. They have short, coarse fur that ranges in colour from yellow to light brown. Their underparts and mouth area are a creamy white. Cougars have a pink nose and small, round ears. Their legs are short and powerful. Adult cougars have black spots on both sides of their muzzle, ears, and at the tip of their tail. Cougars have excellent eyesight and hearing.



Cougars inhabit mountains, lowlands, swamps and grasslands. Cougars mark their territory by leaving scratch marks on tree trunks and by leaving behind urine and excrement along the border of their ranges, which may be anywhere from 25 to 1000 square miles (40 to 1609 sq km).


Feeding Habits

The main food source for cougars is deer, although their diets are supplemented by wild hogs, raccoons, rabbits, rodents, porcupines and birds.  For larger game, cougars will stalk their prey, pouncing on its back and sinking their teeth into the nape of the neck. Cougars usually kill one deer per week and feed from it over several days. Although cougars usually find their prey from dusk to dawn, cougars may sometimes been seen during the day. 



During the two-week mating period, a male and female cougar will live and hunt together. Females give birth to a litter of one to five, but usually two to three kittens (also known as cubs) every other year. The kittens stay with their mother for up to two years before going off on their own to find their own territory. Newborns weigh one pound each and have dark spots which fade before they reach one year of age. They are weaned at two months when they begin to learning hunting skills from their mother. The kittens stay with their mother for up to two years before going off on their own to find their own territory.



Cougars are known for their powerful jumping abilities—they are able to leap a distance of 15 feet (4.5 m) vertically and a horizontal distance of 40 feet (12 m). Cougars are adept climbers and will climb a tree to chase a porcupine or raccoon. They live solitary lives, except for a period of about two weeks during mating season. 



The Florida cougar is listed as Critically endangered by the IUCN, while the Eastern cougar is listed as Endangered.