North American Cougar

North America’s Big Cat

The North American cougar (Puma concolor couguar) is a big cat that goes by many names. Known as the Florida Panther in the southeast, it’s a panther in the east, a mountain lion out west, a catamount, panther or puma in other regions. It is the biggest cat in North America. While once common across the continent, it’s now only prevalent in the west.


Getting to Know Them

North American cougars have tan/beige fur covering most of their body with light gray fur on the chest and black on the tips of the ears, tail, and snout.

They are agile climbers, good swimmers, and skilled hunters with excellent vision and extremely sensitive hearing. 


North American cougars have large, powerful legs that enable them to run fifty miles per hour and jump up to eighteen feet in the air.

They can growl, hiss, purr, and shriek, but they cannot roar like the other big cats.

Cougars are stealthy predators that stalk and still hunt at night, preying on all sorts of animals from mice and chipmunks to rabbits, racoons, coyotes, and deer. While extremely dangerous, they rarely attack people. You would be more likely to get struck by lightning than to be attacked by these big cats.

North American Cougars have the largest range of any mammal in the Americas. They are capable of living in almost any ecosystem from coast to coast.

Conservation and Protection


The North American Cougar used to be common across nearly all of North America. Sadly, their population today is but a fragment of what it once was. The species was nearly hunted to eradication in the east and still thrives only in pockets elsewhere.
With their extremely large range, protecting the North American Cougar requires preserving a lot of habitats. Far more than any other mammal on the continent. This makes the prospect challenging but not impossible. Great strides have already been achieved in conserving and
protecting this magnificent big cat.

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