Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Carnivora · Felidae · Puma concolor
   Smithsonian Institution
   Copyright Notice
   Privacy Notice
Puma concolor


Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae

Click to see a 3-D view.
Image of Puma concolor
Click to enlarge. (117 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Cougars avoid open habitats such as flat, shrubless deserts and farm fields, but can make a living in swamps, forests, and desert scrub habitat. They live solitary lives at low population densities, and usually avoid humans, but about four attacks are reported annually in the United States and Canada. Cougars hunt at night, either stalking their prey or waiting in ambush to pounce. They take hoofed mammals, sometimes including domestic livestock, and other prey, including rabbits, hares, porcupines, bobcats, coyotes, beavers, opossums, skunks, and even other Cougars. They rarely bed down in the same place two days in a row unless they are watching young or consuming a large kill. Some states and provinces allow Cougars to be hunted for sport

Also known as:
Mountain Lion, Puma, Florida Panther, Catamount

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are significantly heavier than females.

Average: 1,270 mm males; 1,140 mm females
Range: 1,020-1,540 mm males; 860-1,310 mm females

Average: 62 kg males; 42 kg females
Range: 36-120 kg males; 29-64 kg females


Linné, Carl von, 1771.  Mantissa Plantarum altera, Generum editionis VI et Specierum ed., Supplement to Genera Plantarum and Species Plantarum.  Holmiæ: Impensis Direct. L. Salvii, 2:522.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Puma concolor

Image of Puma concolor
Puma concolor (Cougar), Peru
Click to enlarge. (195kb)

Image of Puma concolor
Puma concolor (Cougar), Peru
Click to enlarge. (188kb)

Image of Puma concolor
Click to enlarge. (83kb)

Skull of Puma concolor
Click to enlarge. (21kb)