Fascinating Animals

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The Cougar

Cougar (Felis concolor)- captive in winter habitatClick on picture then Save to your Computer as your

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Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Felidae
Genus Puma

The symbolism of the Cougar is ease, grace, strength and focus.

The Cougar is the largest cat in North America.   Cougars are solitary and nocturnal, and are excellent hunters.  Cougar teaches decisiveness, and imparts resolve to those who come across the “Cougar” or have her (him) as their Totem Animal or as an animal ally.   The Cougar has a high sense of awareness and intuition, and can sense what is happening around her/him for miles, and thus can make the right decisions to both fend off danger and carry out other actions.

The Cougar spirit animal represents the Fury of the female spirit.  As a Mother, the female Cougar will fight violently to protect her cubs and feed them.   She will do whatever is necessary to provide for her cubs and ensure that they are always safe.

cat-divider

Cougars are also powerful jumpers and leap from rock to rock, which symbolises leaving the past behind and moving forward.  Cougar is about leadership and coming to one’s power through courage, power, swiftness and balance.

Cougar sightings in the wild are extremely rare.   A cougar’s rear limbs are slightly longer than the fore limbs which enables the cougar to leap both vertically and horizontally.  Its head is relatively small, compared to other wild felines, with green to amber colored eyes set close together to maximize visual acuity and distance sight.   Cougars are muscular yet somewhat short. Their stocky limbs end in large paws with retractable claws.

The cougar’s diet consists mainly of deer and elk. They are also adept at hunting smaller animals such as porcupines.

Cougars are also called Pumas or Mountain Lions.  The Cougars of North America have the species name, Puma concolor cougar.   Just to add to the confusion, Cougars are also sometimes called Panthers, but for the correct definition of a Panther (black Jaguar or black Leopard), please see  THIS  post of my blog.  The coat is of uniform colour, hence the Latin name, concolor, varying from silvery-grey through tawny-yellow to light reddish brown.  Young cougar kittens are spotted, with blue eyes.

The average litter size is two to three kittens.  Mothers spend an average of 18 to 24 months raising a single litter to maturity. The mother only nurses her kittens for the first seven weeks of their lives and the rest of the time is devoted to teaching the kittens how to survive on their own.  Female Cougars are dedicated mothers and are either pregnant or raising dependent kittens for the majority (over 75%) of their lives.  Cougar kittens loose their spots before the end of their first year.

The distribution of Cougars ranges from areas in Canada, down through the United States south to Central and South America.  However, the Cougar’s’ range has greatly retracted, having been eliminated from almost the entire eastern half of Northern America following European colonisation in the USA.  East of the Mississippi River, the cougar is only found in parts of Florida in North East America, where it is endangered.

The Cougar is protected over much of its range. Hunting is prohibited in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Uruguay, and hunting regulations exist in Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States .

Click  HERE  to listen to some Cougar sounds !!

cougar kittens

Cougar Kittens

Sadly, many Cougar kittens are orphaned because their mothers are shot and killed by hunters wanting their pelts.

Fortunately, the  Oregon Zoo  and Chattanooga Zoo in the U.S.A. takes in some of these babies.   If you know of anyone who runs a private zoo with Cougars, please report them to the Fisheries & Wildlife Department.

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