Cougar

Puma concolor

Photo: Nancy Turner

Cougar

Appearance

The average male cougar weighs 60 kilograms and the female weighs 45 kilograms. They can grow to be almost three metres long (including a 75 centimetre tail). Their fur colour is from red-brown to grey-brown with light under parts.

Range & Habitat

Found from northern B.C. to southern Argentina, cougars maintain a home territory on average of 15 square kilometres; they mark it by “scratch piles” and urination. They prefer habitats that are partially open and rocky, but will follow food anywhere. In B.C., this animal is found in the Georgia Depression and Coast Mountains ecoprovince.

Diet & Behaviour

They are carnivores, eating anything from small mammals to 600 kilogram elk and moose. The mule deer is a main food for cougars and an adult cougar can survive off of 14 to 20 deer per year. Predation by cougars is important to remove weak or diseased animals. Cougars make many sounds from whistles and chuckles through to a long drawn-out scream.

Lifecycle & Threats

Mating occurs between March and June and the male leaves after mating. Females give birth to one to four kittens in a rocky crevice or den protected by roots or fallen trees; males don’t tend the young. Cubs stay with their mother for about 15 months, and life expectancy is about 10 to 12 years in the wild. The main threat to cougars is sport hunting and habitat loss from urban sprawl and logging.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.bcadventure.com

Photo: Dorst