- Cougars and pumas are usually the same animal, but there are slight variations based on geographic location and climate. They are also known as pumas, panthers, panthers, and painters.
- In North and Central America, the species is more commonly known as the mountain lion, while the label puma is more commonly used in South America.
- The cougar has a tawny coat with a lighter belly, which varies in color depending on the climate. Cougars can have slightly longer silvery fur. Florida leopards and South American pumas have reddish fur.
Cougars, cougars and cougars, oh my! Depending on where you live or what you watch, you may hear America’s big cats by many different names.
Is there a difference between a cougar and a cougar? where do they live Read on to find out.
Cougars vs. Mountain Lions
Cougar and puma are actually two different names for the same animal. The puma has a very wide range, spanning most of North and South America. Different groups of people call them by different names.
Comparing Cougars vs Cougars
The same descriptive traits apply to this animal, whether you call it a cougar or a cougar. Here are some quick facts:
Scientific name – Puma concolor
Common Names – cougar, cougar, cougar, panther, painter, panther
Size – 2.8 to 5 feet (86 to 155 cm) long, 75 to 158 lbs (34 to 72 kg)
Habitat – mountains, forests, deserts, swamps
Range – North and South America
Lifespan – up to 20 years
Body – Feline
Temperament – secretive, lonely
The term “mountain lion” is most commonly applied to the North American subspecies (Puma concolor cougar), while “cougar” is used to the South American subspecies (Puma concolor concolor). Starting from the same species, there are very few differences between these cats, but include:
|scope||North and Central America||South America|
|total measurement||slightly larger||slightly smaller|
Key Differences Between Cougars and Mountain Lions
Cougars and mountain lions are the same species, Puma The big cat has the largest range of any land mammal (other than humans) in the Western Hemisphere, so it’s no surprise that isolated populations have developed into subspecies. These include:
Classified as Puma concolor puma, The subspecies ranges from Canada to the southernmost tip of the United States, through Mexico and Central America, and possibly into South America.
This subspecies was once found throughout the southern United States. Hunted almost to extinction, there are now about 50 individuals living in south Florida. Conservation efforts aim to help the population make a comeback. Florida panthers are generally smaller than their western cousins.Different but still part of it puma concolor cougar or the North American cougar subspecies.
south american cougar
This subspecies is classified as Puma It is known to inhabit South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.
Consider these differences in more detail.
The North American cougar ranges across Canada, across the western United States, east into the Florida Panhandle, and into Central America. Some populations are believed to also inhabit South America.
South American pumas live throughout South America, including Brazil and the Andes.
Adults of the Florida panther and South American cougar breeds may weigh half as much as an adult North American cougar.
Cougars and pumas are opportunistic predators. They will eat any mammal and bird they can catch, but diets vary according to the prey available in each geographic region. Cougars eat a lot of deer and goats. Pumas in South America prey on wild camelids, including llamas, alpacas, llamas and guanacos, as well as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent.
Cougars generally live in cooler mountainous regions, while pumas inhabit tropical forests. Again, the exception is the northern subspecies of the Florida leopard, which inhabits hot, humid, swampy habitats.
All cougars have a tawny coat with a lighter underbelly. However, depending on the climate, the color will vary. Cougars may have silvery, slightly longer fur, while cougars from warmer regions—the Florida panther and the South American puma—have redder hues.
threat to humanity
Both the cougar and the mountain lion are considered the least aggressive feral cats to humans. They fear human encounters and are more likely to run or hide than attack. In North America, only 126 mountain lion attacks have been recorded in the past 100 years, 27 of which were fatal. If an attack does occur, it’s likely due to loss of territory, lack of food, or the cougar seeing a human as prey.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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