Field Guide/Mammals/Cougar

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Puma concolor (Cougar (Puma))
Family: Felidae
Size: Total length: males – 7.55 ft. females – 6.9 ft. (males - 2.3 m. females – 2.1 m.). Tail length: males – 2.5 ft. females – 2.3 ft. (males - .77 m. females - .7 m.). Weight: 121 – 143 lbs. (55-65 kg.).[1]
Description: The cougar is a large, slender cat with muscular limbs.[1] They have grayish-brown to reddish-brown hair except for the tips on their tail and ears, which are black.[2]
Similar Species: The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) differs from the cougar mainly in size and tail length. Bobcats are typically much smaller than Cougars. Bobcats also have short tails, while Cougar’s tails can account for up to a third of their total length.[3]

Range: Cougars are found in western North America eastward to the Midwest. As well as north into Canada and south into Mexico.[4]
Habitat: Relatively unpopulated areas in the mountains.[1] Heavily forested areas.[2]
Diet: Carnivorous. Moose (Alces alces), Elk (Cervus elaphus), White-Tail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Bobcats (Lynx rufus).[3]
Activity: Solitary animals.[1] Nocturnal. Usually active at dawn and again at dusk.[2]

Reproduction: Polygamous. Mates year-round, but typically between April and September. Gestation period of 82-96 days. Typical litter size of 1-6 (1 litter every other year). Newborns weigh 14.1 oz. (400 g.) at birth.[1] Weaned at 40 days.[3]
Lifespan: 8-12 years in the wild. 20 years in captivity.[2]

Notes: Cougars used to have the largest distribution of all American terrestrial mammals. They used to range from coast to coast throughout North America and from southern Argentina to southeastern Alaska. Hunting and habitat destruction by humans has restricted their present-day range.[3]

The most common cause of death is from humans. Cougars cannot roar, but they can purr.[1]

Siblings will stay together for 2-3 months after leaving their mother.[2]
Cougar (Puma) Puma concolor


  1. a b c d e f Currier, M.J.P. (1983), Mammalian Species, pp. 1–7 
  2. a b c d e Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (2012), Felis concolor,, retrieved 9/25/12 
  3. a b c d Hamilton, Hundt, Piokowski, M., P., R., Mountain Lion, Puma, Cougar 
  4. Dewey, Shivaraju, T., A. (2003), Puma concolor