Mountain lion, puma, cougar, panther—this cat is known by more names than just about any Adult males weigh 40 to 60 percent more than adult females. The cougar (Puma concolor), also commonly known as the puma, mountain lion, panther or . Adult males are around m ( ft) long from nose to tail tip, and females through vocalizations outside of the mother-offspring relationship. Mountain Lion, Male/Female Relationship, Washington Photographic Print by Frank Schneidermeyer. Find art you love and shop high-quality art prints.
Prey selection also may vary among social categories within a predator species as a result of differences in behavior or energetic needs. Male and female mountain lions may encounter different sex and age classes of deer at varying frequencies because of differences in habitat selection, timing and amount of movement, or home-range size of these large predators. Energetic needs of male and female mountain lions likely vary because of differences in body size or demands of rearing young, but data on this topic are few.
We compared mortality caused by mountain lions and coyotes versus that caused by automobiles for a single population of mule deer to examine selection of ungulate prey by predators that differ substantially in body size, hunting style, and reproductive status. We predicted that coyotes, a small coursing predator, would be more likely than mountain lions, a large stalking hunter, to select mule deer that were younger or in poor physical condition.
We also predicted that male and female mountain lions would not differ in their selection of prey unless other factors besides hunting style e. We predicted that female mountain lions would kill a greater proportion of young deer than would males and that female mountain lions also would kill a greater proportion of adult female deer than would male mountain lions. If body size affected prey selection by coyotes and mountain lions, we also predicted that such marked differences in body size would lead to a preponderance of small prey items in the diet of coyotes, even though these canids often hunt in packs.
We also predicted that mountain lions with different reproductive demands would kill mule deer differentially with respect to sex and age classes of deer.
Deer inhabit about 90 km2 during November—April, but the area of use varies with snow depth Kucera Most mule deer that overwinter in Round Valley migrate in spring to high-elevation ranges in summer Kucera ; Pierce et al. A small proportion of the herd, however, remains on the eastern side of the mountains and is prey for resident mountain lions and coyotes throughout the year. Dominant vegetation is characteristic of the Great Basin Storer and Usinger and includes a mosaic of bitterbrush Purshia tridentatasagebrush Artemisia tridentataand rabbitbrush Chrysothamnus nauseosum.3 Male Lions Go For 1 Lioness!
Patches of blackbrush Coleogyne ramosissima and mormon tea Ephedra nevadensis also are interspersed. Salix, Rosa, and Betula occidentalis occur in riparian areas. Detailed descriptions of the study area were provided by Kucera and Pierce et al. Our study began in November at the end of a prolonged drought. Annual precipitation during the study was highly variable: Sampling prey and predators Three hundred ten mule deer females, 93 males were captured and fitted with radiocollars during winter or spring — Deer were captured on their winter range, and individuals from groups that already included an animal with a collar were intentionally avoided.
Collars were distributed among adult males and females in the approximate proportion of their occurrence in the population 1: We weighed mountain lions to the nearest 2. All adults were fitted with radiocollars. Age of young mountain lions was estimated with weight, pelage characteristics, and patterns of tooth eruption Anderson ; D.
Helicopter surveys were conducted annually in January to determine number of deer in the study area and proportions of adult males, adult females, and young. Transects were flown with 3 observers and extended across the entire study area at an elevation where deer tracks in snow could no longer be seen. Deer mortality and predation We located mule deer killed by mountain lions and coyotes during — by back-tracking lions from daytime positions, investigating mortality signals from transmitter-equipped deer, locating mountain lions at night via telemetry, and investigating locations of scavenging birds.
All marked deer were monitored daily for mortality signals, and causes of mortality were determined by examining wounds, tracks, and feces in the vicinity of carcasses. Additionally, remote photography Pierce et al. Lower incisors and femurs were collected from all carcasses of mule deer for age analysis with cementum annuli Low and Cowan and for analysis of fat with ether extraction of marrow in long bones Neiland We collected feces of carnivores opportunistically for analysis of diets.
Although many feces for both predators were gathered near locations of kills, coyote feces were located throughout the study area, especially along roads. Feces of mountain lions were numerous at latrines locations used repeatedly for scent marking and near resting areas.
Feces of mountain lions also were located by hounds while trailing mountain lions. Marcgrave's rendering was reproduced in by his associate, Dutch naturalist Willem Piso. Cuguacu ara was then adopted by English naturalist John Ray in They are placed in the subfamily Felinae, although their physical characteristics are similar to those of the big cats in the subfamily Pantherinae.
Taxonomic research on felids remains partial, and much of what is known about their evolutionary history is based on mitochondrial DNA analysis,  as cats are poorly represented in the fossil record and significant confidence intervals exist with suggested dates.
In the latest genomic study of the Felidae, the common ancestor of today's LeopardusLynxPumaPrionailurusand Felis lineages migrated across the Bering land bridge into the Americas 8. The lineages subsequently diverged in that order. The cheetah lineage is suggested by some studies to have diverged from the Puma lineage in the Americas see American cheetah and migrated back to Asia and Africa,   while other research suggests the cheetah diverged in the Old World itself.
North America was then repopulated by a group of South American cougars. It is now most often placed in the genus Herpailurus. It is still regularly listed as subspecies P. Its powerful forequarters, neck, and jaw serve to grasp and hold large prey. It has five retractable claws on its forepaws one a dewclaw and four on its hind paws. The larger front feet and claws are adaptations to clutching prey. Whereas cougars tend to be larger as distance increases from the equator,  which crosses South America, jaguars north of the Amazon River in South America tend to be smaller.
Despite its size, it is not typically classified among the " big cats " because it cannot roar, lacking the specialized larynx and hyoid apparatus of Panthera. They are well known for their screams, as referenced in some of their common names, although these screams are often misinterpreted to be the calls of other animals or humans. The coat is typically tawny like that of the lion, which is why it was initially called the "mountain lion",  but it otherwise ranges from silvery-grey or reddish with lighter patches on the underbody, including the jaws, chin, and throat.
Infants are spotted and born with blue eyes and rings on their tails;  juveniles are pale and dark spots remain on their flanks.
It is adept at climbing, which allows it to evade canine competitors. Although it is not strongly associated with water, it can swim. Like other cats, it is an obligate carnivoremeaning it must feed on meat to survive. The mean weight of vertebrate prey MWVP that pumas attack increases with the puma's body weight; in general, MWVP is lower in areas closer to the equator. Other species such as the bighorn and Dall's sheephorsefallow deercariboumountain goatcoyote and pronghorn.
Only the Florida panther showed variation, often preferring feral hogs and armadillos. Cougars are ambush predators, feeding mostly on deer and other mammals.
Cougar - Wikipedia
Investigations at Yellowstone National Park showed that elk, followed by mule deer, were the cougar's primary targets; the prey base is shared with the park's gray wolveswith which the cougar competes for resources.
Learned, individual prey recognition was observed, as some cougars rarely killed bighorn sheep, while others relied heavily on the species. Small to mid-sized mammals are preferred, including large rodents such as the capybara.
Competition with the larger jaguar in South America has been suggested for the decline in the size of prey items. It stalks through brush and trees, across ledges, or other covered spots, before delivering a powerful leap onto the back of its prey and a suffocating neck bite. The cougar is capable of breaking the neck of some of its smaller prey with a strong bite and momentum bearing the animal to the ground. The period shrinks for females raising young, and may be as short as one kill every three days when cubs are nearly mature around 15 months.
Mountain Lion Behavior
The cougar is generally reported to not be a scavengerbut deer carcasses left exposed for study were scavenged by cougars in California, suggesting more opportunistic behavior.
They typically average one litter every two to three years throughout their reproductive lives,  though the period can be as short as one year. Chronic stress can result in low reproductive rates when in captivity as well as in the field. Litter size is between one and six cubs; typically two.
Caves and other alcoves that offer protection are used as litter dens. Born blind, cubs are completely dependent on their mother at first, and begin to be weaned at around three months of age.
As they grow, they begin to go out on forays with their mother, first visiting kill sites, and after six months beginning to hunt small prey on their own.
One study has shown high mortality amongst cougars that travel farthest from the maternal range, often due to conflicts with other cougars intraspecific competition. A male North American cougar P. Feline immunodeficiency virusan endemic HIV-like virus in cats, is well-adapted to the cougar.
Only mothers and kittens live in groups, with adults meeting rarely. While generally loners, cougars will reciprocally share kills with one another and seem to organize themselves into small communities defined by the territories of dominant males. Cats within these areas socialize more frequently with each other than with outsiders.