Cougar: Key Facts

Cougars, pumas, mountain lions – did you know they’re all the same animal? If you want to learn more about cougars, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll look at some cougar key facts and answer some common questions related to cougars.

Quick Facts About Cougars

Scientific Name:Puma Concolor
Other Common Names:Puma, Mountain Lion, Panther
Physical Description:Large cat with short fur ranging in color from tawny to reddish brown to gray. The cougar has white fur on its belly and dark brown fur at its muzzle, ears, and the tip of its tail. Cougar kittens have spotted coats similar to the markings on a cheetah. Adult male cougars are generally much larger than females.
Average Length and Weight:Males:
– Length: 7 to 8 feet including the tail
– Height: 30 inches to the shoulder
– Weight: 140 to 150 pounds

– Length: 6 to 7 feet including the tail
– Height: 27 inches at the shoulder
– Weight: 100 to 110 pounds
Average Lifespan:12 years in the wild; up to 20 years in captivity
Number of Subspecies:30 (two of which are considered endangered)
Average Speed:40 to 50 MPH
Jumping Distance:Vertically: up to 18 feet
Horizontally: up to 40 feet
Distribution:North, Central, and South America
Habitat:Varies widely. May live in forest, desert, mountain, grassland, and tropical regions. Generally prefers areas with plenty of plant life, caves, and rocks so it can conceal itself.

How Fast Does a Cougar Run?

Cougars are predatory animals, so they have to be able to outrun their prey in order to eat. For this reason, cougars can reach exceptional speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Cougars can only maintain their top speed for short bursts. They are incredibly skilled sprinters, but if their prey manages to outrun them for too long, cougars will grow tired and will have to abandon the chase.

How Far Can a Cougar Jump?

Cougars usually hunt by stalking their prey before springing on them. Sometimes, it’s necessary for them to jump great distances from their hiding spot to where the prey is sleeping or grazing.

The cougar’s natural athletic build allows it to jump from a sitting position up to 18 feet in the air. When jumping horizontally, it can travel as far as 40 feet in a single leap.

How Large is a Cougar?

Cougars are the second largest cat in the Americas, behind only the jaguar. They vary widely in size depending on where they live and whether they’re male or female.

Cougars can range in length from 5 to 9 feet long and from 60 and 200 pounds. Cougars who live in tropical regions are generally smaller than those who live closer to the poles.

The average size for male cougars is 7 to 8 feet long and 140 to 150 pounds. The average size for female cougars is 6 to 7 feet and 100 to 110 pounds.

How Long Do Cougars Live?

Like many animals, cougars have a shorter lifespan in the wild than they do in captivity. This is likely because they are often hunted by humans, fight with other predators, and often face the threat of starvation.

In the wild, a cougar’s average lifespan is about 12 years. According to the U.S. National Park Service, females tend to live longer than males.

You may not imagine keeping a cougar as a pet, but as you can see from the video below, it’s not all that uncommon. In captivity, cougars may live up to 20 years.


Cougars are big cats native to North, Central, and South America. Their strong, athletic build allows them to sprint at great speeds over short distances, as well as to leap both horizontally and vertically. Here is our guide on what to do if you meet one.

Read also about other forest mammals – here are our guides about deer, ermine, mongoose.

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