- The cougar, Puma concolor, is a rather gorgeous large feline native to the Americas, and it is more nearly similar to smaller felines, including the domestic cat than to any other known subspecies of the lion.
- This breathtaking feline is a slender and agile member of the cat family and is also the fourth-largest feline species.
- The mammal is adept at climbing, which allows it to evade canine competitors. Although not strongly associated with water, the cougar can swim.
Cougar Physical Description
The Cougar exhibits sexual dimorphism in terms of size. Adults average roughly 24-35 in (60-90 cm) tall at the shoulders. Adult males are also about 7.9 ft (2.4 m) long, nose-to-tail, and females are usually up to 6.7 ft (2.05 m).
On the other hand, of this length, 25-37 in (63-95 cm) of this is only the tail.
The male typically weighs 115-220 lbs (53-100 kg) while females – between 64-141 lbs (29-64 kg).
The head of the mammal is round and its ears are erect. Its powerful forequarters, neck, and jaw serve to grasp and hold large prey.
It also has five retractable claws on the forepaws and four on the hind paws. The larger front feet and claws are adaptations to clutching prey.
In addition, it has large paws and proportionally the largest hind legs in the cat family.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Felidae
- Genus: Puma
- Species: P. concolor
Cougar Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
It has also evolved to be highly adaptable, and thus inhabits a wide variety of habitat types within its native range. Most notably, these include forests, lowlands, mountains, and arid climates.
This physique also allows the Cougar some of the greatest leaping and short-sprint ability of any animal. It is able to jump as high as 18 ft (5.5 m) in one bound, and also as far as 40-45 ft (12-14 m) horizontally.
The top running speed of the animal also ranges between 40-50 mph (64-80 kph), but they are best capable of short, powerful sprints rather than long chases.
A rather successful generalist predator, the Cougar will eat any animal it can catch, from insects to large ungulates in excess of 1,100 lbs (500 kg). Certainly, it exhibits opportunistic behavior.
Like all felines, it is an obligate carnivore. This means that it needs to feed exclusively on meat to survive. Investigations in Yellowstone National Park showed that elk, followed by mule deer, were the animal’s primary targets.