Puma – Cougar & jaguarundi

A small group of New World wild cats having uniformly colored fur

Puma is a remarkable genus of large felines native to the Americas. They boast a broad geographic range, making them the most widespread of any wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. This extensive range covers virtually all forest types from the Canadian Yukon in the north, through the United States, Central America, and into South America as far south as the southern Andes.

Characterized by their large size and muscular build, pumas have a sleek, uniform coat that can vary in color from tan to greyish brown, providing camouflage across the varied terrains they inhabit. Unlike many of their feline counterparts, pumas do not have spotted or striped fur, which distinguishes them visually from other large cats with which they may share their environment.

Pumas are known for their exceptional adaptability not only in habitat but also in their hunting and activity patterns. Contrary to the predominantly nocturnal lifestyle of many big cats, pumas are active during the day, at twilight, and at night. This versatility allows them to exploit a range of prey and avoid direct competition with other large predators in the same area.

As solitary animals, pumas are rarely seen in groups outside of a mother with her kittens or during mating. They employ ambush tactics to hunt, relying on their powerful limbs and stealth to catch a wide variety of prey. Their diet is primarily carnivorous, focusing on large mammals such as deer, but also includes smaller animals like marmosets, as well as reptiles, birds, and occasionally frogs. This opportunistic feeding strategy underscores the puma’s role as a keystone predator, helping to maintain the balance of the ecosystems they inhabit.