Cougar

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Category: Animal Info Pages


cougarThe cougar (Puma concolor) is an animal of many titles.  It is commonly known as the puma, panther, catamount, or mountain lion, depending on which region you are in.  In fact, the cougar hold the Guinness record for the greatest number of names for an animal, as there are over 40 in just the English language alone.  

 

The cougar is native to the Americas, though it is thought that they originally migrated from Asia.  Hunting has caused massive decline in the species, but recently it has been found that breeding groups have traveled west to the Dakotas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.  That said, there have still been many, though sparse sightings.  Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois (Chicago), and even Connecticut have each had sightings.

 

Cougars are the largest of the small cats, the second heaviest cat in the new world, and are more closely related to domestic cats than any species of pantherinae.  Adults stand at roughly 35 inches tall at the shoulder, with a length of approximately 8 feet long, nose to tail.  The closer you get to the equator, however, the smaller the species grows (Bergmann's Rule).

 

Cougar cubs are born to litters of typically two, though litter size can range from one to six cubs.  In the wild, only one cub per litter will live until maturity.  Cubs are born with spots, but lose them by the age of three.  The young adults will leave their mother (who is solely responsible for rearing cubs) by the age of two, and sometimes even earlier for males.

 

The average lifespan for a wild cougar is 8 to 13 years.  The oldest reported wild cougar was 18, harvested by Vancouver Island hunters.  In captivity, cougars tend to live to around 20 years, with the exception of Scratch, a North American cougar who died just before his 30th birthday in 2007.

 

Cougars prefer areas with dense brush and rocky areas due to its ambush-style of stalking and hunting.  Even still, the cougar is incredibly adaptable, and boasts the largest range of any wild land animal in the Americas.

 

 

Cougars will eat just about anything they can catch.  They are strictly carnivorous, and while they prefer to feed on ungulates like deer and sheep, they will attack and eat anything from reptiles, porcupines, harbor seals, and even insects.  Cougars have even been known to attack and successfully fend off bear!