CREATURE FEATURE: South American Cougar

The South American Cougar (Puma concolor puma) is a large wild cat in the Felidae family. It is a felid. It is a sub-species of the Cougar (Puma concolor). It is also known as the Puma.

The South American Cougar is one colour (concolor means one colour), which is usually tawny brown or reddish-brown. It has lighter patches on its underbelly, chin, and throat.has a rounded head, and a long, slender body with powerful forequarters, larger front feet, and large paws. It has four retractile claws on each hind (back) paw and five retractile claws on its forepaws (front paws), but one is a dewclaw (digit). Retractile claws can extend and retract, protecting them with a sheath of skin when they are not being used. 

South American Cougar

It grows to 60-90 centimetres (24-35 inches) tall at shoulder height. It grows to 200-240 metres (80-94 inches) long, from its nose to the tip of its tail. Its tail measures 63-95 centimetres (25-37 inches) long.

It is widespread in the Western Hemisphere. The South American Cougar sub-species is native to Patagonia in South America. It prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas, as well as open areas.

It is mainly solitary and territorial. It is nocturnal, active at night, and crepuscular, active at dusk and dawn. 

The South American Cougar is an ambush predator. Like other wild cats, it is an obligate carnivore, which means that is must feed on meat to survive. It usually hunts and kills deer and rodents, eating a large animal about every 14 days. It stalks its prey before leaping onto it and biting it on the neck. It can sprint fast for short distances, and it can leap up to 550 metres (18 feet) high into a tree.

The Cougar communicates with various vocalizations, such as growls, spits, snarls, yowls, whistles, chirps, mews, and hisses. 

The female is pregnant for about 91 days before giving birth to 1-6 live young, called cubs. The cubs are born spotted with blue eyes. Only the mother looks after the cubs. They stay with their mother for about two years before being independent. 

Their life expectancy in the wild is 8-13 years. 

South American Cougar
South American Cougar
South American Cougar
South American Cougar

Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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