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The Puma
     

The Puma, Pumaconcolor, is the second biggest member of the cat family in the New World. Although it is not classed as a Big Cat, it is of similar size to the Leopard.

Names

There are a lot of names for the Puma in English.  These include Cougar, Florida Panther,  Mountain Lion, Catamount, Red Tiger, Mexican Lion, Deer Tiger, Mountain Screamer, Panther, Silver Lion, Devil Cat, Plain Lion, Long Tail Swamp Lion, and many more.  In fact this animal may have more common names than any other.

Range and Habitats

One of the reasons for the large number of names is the very big range of this animal.  Their original distribution ranged from the Arctic tundra in the north to southern Argentina in the south.  In fact they have the biggest range of any large land animal in the Western hemisphere, excluding Humans.

The different names also reflect the extremely varied habitats of this versatile creature.

Social

Like most types of Cat, the Puma is mostly solitary.  The males and females come together for mating.  The Puma Kittens stay with their mother for about two years.

Diet

Like the other cats, the cougar is a carnivore.  It will eat things as big as Moose, Cattle and Horses, or as small as insects and mice.

Not Top Predator

In many parts of its range, the Puma competes with other large predators like Bears, Wolves and Jaguars.  In the areas that it shares with Jaguars, the Pumas tend to be smaller than in areas without a bigger cat species.

We can speculate that in Jaguar areas, the Puma specialises in smaller prey than the Jaguar goes for.

Man Eating

Pumas are certainly big and powerful enough to be very dangerous to Humans, but we do not seem to be a major food source for this cat.  In fact, most big cats are not habitual man eaters.

There are occasional attacks on Humans by this large cat.  Sometimes the person attacked lives to tell the tale.

Domestic Animals

Although Humans may not be a major menu item for Pumas, our animals are.  Because of this, and other reasons, Pumas have been hunted into extinction in some areas and greatly reduced in numbers in others.

Although this animal will live in nearly all natural land habitats in its extensive range, it is not really compatible with Humans in intensively settled areas.

Near Threatened

The Puma is not in immediate danger of extinction, but the drastic reduction in its numbers could lead to this.

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