Puma

Species profile

Name: the puma (Puma concolor) – also know as the cougar, mountain lion, or panther – is a secretive member of the cat family. Despite being the fourth largest cat in the world, it is not classified as a ‘big cat’ because it cannot roar.

Appearance: pumas are a tawny colour similar to lions – hence being sometimes called mountain lions. They have round heads with powerful necks and jaws to grasp and hold prey.

Size: adult males measure around 2.4 metres from nose to tail and weigh around 62 kg. Females are slightly smaller, typically measuring 2.0 metres and weighing 42 kg.

Diet: pumas are generalist predators and will eat almost anything they can catch – from insects to large deer. In South America pumas prey on capybara, mice, porcupines, hares, guanaco, peccary, vicuna, and rhea.

Did you know: pumas play an important role in indigenous South American cultures. The capital city of the Incan empire – Cusco – is said to be designed in the shape of a puma, while the Moche culture often depicted pumas in their ceramics.

Location: pumas have the largest range of any wild land animal in the Americas. They can be found from northern Canada to southern Patagonia and can live in virtually every type of habitat.

Best places to see pumas

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see pumas are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Torres del Paine
Chile
33%
low
4.7
very good
3
reports
Mindo
Ecuador
20%
low
4.6
very good
5
reports
Los Glaciares
Argentina
0%
very low
3.5
good
2
reports

Photo credit: strichpunkt under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay