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Puma Sage JMiner 8987



Puma concolor

Pumas have over 200 names because they inhabit the largest geographical region of any other cat in the world. Other names for the puma include: mountain lion, panther, cougar, catamount, American lion, screamer, painted cat, and fire cat.

Pumas are classified as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are an estimated 20,000-25,000 pumas remaining in North America; the number remaining in South America is unknown. The following organizations contribute to the conservation of pumas: the Bay Area Puma Project, a conservation project for pumas adjacent to the San Francisco Bay area; Conservation Northwest, a general conservation effort for many animal species in the Pacific Northwest; and Mountain Lion Foundation, an awareness effort for puma conservation on the American West Coast.

There is no specific breeding season, but most puma births in North America occur in late winter and early spring. Courtship and mating (1-6 days) occur throughout the year. Litters consist of 2-4 cubs that weigh 14-18 oz. at birth. Cubs are born helpless and are spotted until about 6 months of age. They nurse for about 3 months or more, but begin to take some meat at 6 weeks. Cubs are fully weaned by 6 months of age. Littermates stay together for 2-3 months after leaving the mother. Females are sexually mature at 2.5 years. Males reach maturity at around 3 years.

What are they like?

Physical Description: Pumas' color ranges from a light buff to a dark reddish brown. The back of the ears and the tip of the tail are both black. The head is small and broad with a high, arched forehead. They have a slender, elongated body with powerful limbs. Pumas typically weigh between 80-220 lbs with males being larger than females in most cases.

Life Span: In the wild, pumas typically live 15-18 years. In zoos, pumas can live for more than 20 years.

Diet: In the wild, the most consistently important food for pumas is deer. Pumas eat any sized mammal, from mice to moose. At the Zoo, our pumas eat a specially formulated commercial food made for carnivores, but this diet will change as our cubs get bigger.

Social Structure: Pumas are essentially solitary, with individuals deliberately avoiding one another except during the brief period of courtship.

Habitat: Pumas are highly adaptive; while they're typically found in the mountains of North and South America, they can also be found in forests, tropical jungles, grasslands, and even arid desert regions. They tend to avoid agricultural areas, flatlands, and other habitats that lack cover (either vegetative or topographic).

Where do they live?

Pumas can be found from in North and South America from Southern Alaska to Chile, west of the Mississippi, and also in Florida.

puma range north america North America
puma range south america South America

Did you know?

  • Pumas have a distinctive manner of hunting larger prey. The puma leaps at close range onto their back, while keeping the hindlegs on the ground for stability, and breaks the animal's neck with a powerful bite below the base of the skull. When pumas catch large prey, they may bury it under leaves and debris and return to feed over a few days.
  • Pumas are not considered big cats because they cannot roar. Their vocalizations include screams, growls, low-pitched hisses, yowls, and birdlike whistles as well as purring
  • Pumas can swim well, but they prefer not to enter the water unless absolutely necessary. They are very agile and have incredible jumping power. They are able to leap horizontally more than 20 feet and vertically 18 feet.

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