Cougar

The most widespread large mammal of the Americas: from Canada’s Yukon to the Andes in South America

Cougar has a short, coarse coat ranging from greyish to yellowish-brown, with a paler shade on the belly. Their throat and chest are whitish. Furthermore, they cannot roar as lions do, but they can growl, snarl, purr, and even make sounds like a human scream.

These predators are ambush hunters, hiding on a tree limb or behind rocks, patiently waiting for their prey to get in range and go in for the finish with a killing bite to the back of the neck. If the kill is large, such as elk or moose, and they can’t finish it, they will hide it under leaves or behind bushes and return to it later.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Argentina
NT
2014
Belize
2014
Bolivia
2014
Brazil
NT
2014
Canada
3,500-5,000
Official estimate
LC
2014
Chile
DD
2014
Inadequately known
Colombia
NT
2014
Costa Rica
2014
Ecuador
2014
El Salvador
2014
French Guiana
2014
Guatemala
2014
Guyana
2014
Honduras
2014
Mexico
2014
Nicaragua
2014
Panama
2014
Paraguay
2014
Peru
NT
2014
Suriname
2014
United States
2014
Uruguay
2014
Presence Uncertain
Venezuela
2014

Did you know?

  • There are about 40 English names for them, some of which include Puma, Mountain lion, and Red Tiger. 
  • Cougars are active and can jump up to 6 m (20 ft), which are the inspiration for the name of the well-known sneaker company, Puma. This brand encapsulated a feature of their product with the help of the ‘leaping puma’ logo.
  • The Puma has the widest geographical range of any terrestrial mammal (except man!) in the Western Hemisphere, found in every major habitat type of the Americas.
  • Mountain lions have traditionally been considered solitary creatures, but the enormous video archive of the Cougar Project is shaking up these presumptions. It is discovered that a species has some sort of social system and is interacting with a frequency that calls into question the notion that they are solitary creatures.
  • Out of 16 states with cougar populations in the U.S., Texas is the only state where it is classified as a non-game species that can be hunted and trapped year-round with no limits or monitoring.
  • Cougars are endangered due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching of their wild prey base, as well as roadkill, and restricted dispersal. They are hunted in retaliation or sometimes due to fear.
  • Famous P-22, or the Hollywood cat, a Griffith Park mountain lion that survived for around ten years in Los Angeles, passed away on December 17, 2022, after being struck by a vehicle.
  • Cougar P-81, who was four years old, passed away on January 22, 2023, after presumably being struck by a car. Researchers from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area were researching his characteristics (physical abnormalities), which were early indicators of inbreeding within the cougar population. 

Anything we've missed?

Help us improve this page by suggesting edits. Glory never dies!

Suggest an edit

Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No