Cougar, or puma, mountain lion, panther, you name it! But, no matter how you call it, this cat is the largest of the small cat species. So how did it get so many names? It’s pretty simple: because it has such a large range, and people from different countries named her by different names.

The biggest of the small cats.

Cougar is a quite large cat. In fact, the fourth-largest cat species worldwide, to be exact. Males weigh up to 158 pounds, and females to 105 pounds. Their length can go up to 5 feet. Interesting fact is that cougar size is smallest close to the equator and larger towards the poles. Depending on where are they located, cougars can be smaller or bigger than jaguars, but they are less muscular.

Where does cougar live?

Cougar has the largest range of any wild land animal in the Americas. Its range spans 110 degrees of latitude, from northern Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes. They can live almost in every environment, all forest types, lowland and mountainous deserts. This cat prefers habitats that include canyons, escarpments, rim rocks, and dense brush, but can also live in open areas with little vegetation.

cougar

Competition.

Our friend has a vicious competitor-the wolf. These two compete more directly for prey, mostly in winter. Packs of wolves can steal cougars’ kills, and there are some documented cases of cougars being killed by them. One report describes a large pack of 7 to 11 wolves killing a female cougar and her kittens, while in nearby Sun Valley, Idaho, a 2-year-old male cougar was found dead, apparently killed by wolf pack.

Eating and hunting.

Cougars are great hunters. Because of their strong back legs, these predators can jump 18 feet from the ground to a tree! Another benefit they have is, like cheetahs, extremely flexible spine which allows them to run very fast. They eat a variety of prey depending on where they live, including deer, pigs, capybaras, raccoons, armadillos, hares, and squirrels. Some larger cats even bring down animals as big as an elk or a moose.

vicious cat

Cougars cannot roar like a lion, but they can make calls like a human scream. Who knows, maybe we can understand each other!

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