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Puma concolor


There are two subspecies of puma:

Puma concolor concolor in South America

Puma concolor puma in North and Central America


The puma has a rounded head, small rounded ears with a black-coloured back, a slender body, long legs and large paws. It has proportionally the longest hind legs among cats. The puma's coat is smooth and ranges in colour from silvery grey, fawn, reddish to dark brown. Only young pumas may have patterns such as stripes or spots. Melanism is common in these cats. The puma's tail is long with a black tip, and the chin, throat and belly are white. Males weigh 40-60% more than females and can reach a weight of over 100 kg.

Interesting fact

Pumas living in southern Chile and Canada weigh twice as much as pumas found in the tropics, where they must compete with jaguars that are larger than themselves.

Distribution and habitat

The puma has the largest geographic range of any native land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. It is found from British Columbia in Canada and the USA through Central and South America to the southern tip of Chile.

The cougar prefers complex habitats, including rocky, steep mountain ecosystems and diverse forests with undergrowth, but also occupies open habitats with minimal vegetation cover, such as the grasslands of Patagonia.


The puma cannot roar, but is able to make a variety of sounds including chirps, hisses, growls and whistles. Pumas are solitary, displaying activity at night - most at dusk and dawn. The puma hunts on the ground, but he is a good climber. It hunts by tracking and attacking prey at close range. While hunting may travel long distances.


Pumas prey on insects, birds, mice, porcupines, capybara, pardas, deer, sheep and elk. In North America, pumas feed mainly on ungulates such as deer and elk, but also on smaller animals such as wild boar, raccoons, beavers and armadillos.

Main threats

The main threats to pumas are habitat loss, fragmentation and persecution by humans.

Threat category

least concern

Body weight

30-80 kg

Body lenght

100-150 cm

Tail lenght

60-90 cm

Life span

8-12 years

Litter size

1-5 kittens (usually 2-3)

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