The Cougar, Panther, Puma, or Mountain Lion - America's Second Largest Cat.

Cougars or Mountain Lions

Though these very large cats second only in the Americas to the Jaguar in size have always been present, they've recently marched across America in quite the reverse manner of doing so as the European Savages had done in the formation of the United States of America. You see, not too many years ago Mountain Lions or Cougars were mostly thought to be, with some exceptions, and out West kinda cat.

Yes there are many subspecies of Cougar or Panther, and the state of Florida has one that has always been there, and hopefully always will be there. The facts of the matter are that for the rest of us, those of us not living in or around Florida or California, the North American Mountain Lion, or Cougar is now a probable neighbour. No, the cat with many names is not the sort of neighbour that stays and gets to know you, but more the kind of transient or drifter that city police or sheriffs like in classic films such as Easy Rider were so pleased to run out of town and allow to feel nothing in the way of local hospitality.

The Cougar Or Mountain Lion

Puma concolor - or Mountain Lion, A Big Cat With Many Names.

According to the Guinness book of World Records, no other animal has as many common names in the English language as does the Cougar. Why does the second largest cat of the Americas have so many names? Well, just look at it's territory, this is one successful cat. It's also obvious from the distribution map that the Cougar or Mountain Lion will also have many another name in other languages such as Spanish or Portuguese too.

In biological terms a super successful and widely adaptable species of critter such as the Cougars of the Americas is referred to as a generalist species, and what is meant by this is that the critter in question can make use of a wide variety of resources in a wide variety of different environmental conditions.

Think of an herbivore like the Chinese Panda - the thing eats bamboo, and that's about it. Without bamboo, the Chinese Panda is no more. The Panda simply can not live without bamboo. The Chinese Panda has not adapted to where it can survive without bamboo, and it probably will not adapt or evolve in such a manner allowing for it to live without bamboo.

Not so the Cougar! From most of the way North in Canada all the way South to nearly the Southern most tip of South America, the Cougar can and does find things to eat, and lives comfortably in every environment found in that huge North to South range of lands.

Cougar Distribution

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Cougar Distribution - It's WIDER Than Wikipedia's Map

Now I included the Wikipedia cougar distribution map to illustrate how far North To South in the Americas that cougars or mountain lions can be found. The map, however, is wrong. Cougars are found further east, in fact, they are found coast to coast in the continental United States. From looking at that map it's almost debatable as to whether or not cougars were thought to be in my county of Texas.

I don't need a stinking map, I can hear them outside in the distance once or twice a year. One of the names of this cat is Mountain Screamer, and you can just trust me, I hope, when I say that they don't have to be on a Mountain to be screaming. Maybe the Wiki map was just meant to illustrate breeding pairs or something, the same Wikipedia article on cougars goes on to say that a cougar had been shot all the way east to Connecticut.


The Cougar.

Jaguarundi (Top), and Cheetah (Bottom) - Cougar Relatives.

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Cougar Taxonomy and Evolution.

Now in my life I've mostly heard this large cat referred to not as a Cougar or Panther or Puma, but a Mountain Lion. I think that it's just plain for anyone looking at a picture of one of these cats though, that the cougar is not much related to African Lions. They are hardly related even to American Jaguars. While all cats are truly related - it's easy to see a Jaguar is much more closely related to an African Lion, and the cougar is really more of a relative to a common house cat.

Besides me saying all of that, it's also factual.

If one was to seek to find just what species of cat the American Cougar is most closely related too, they would find that it's the Jaguarundi and the Cheetah that American Cougars celebrate the holidays with.

For just a moment I want to talk about evolution. That species change or "evolve" isn't really up for debate, but evolutionary biology is a huge science unto itself, and there are more unresolved issues within that science than there are resolved issues. One of the unresolved issues is, well, the cougar's relationship with the Cheetah. Did some ancient cat migrate to the America's and develop into the cougar, and the same species of cat also develop into the Cheetah? Nope, there's no clear answer. In fact, it's even suggested that some ancient cat of the America's wondered over to the Old World becoming the Cheetah. Nobody knows.

Besides that, there are biologist that recognize thirty two distinct sub species of cougar, and there are biologist that say that every last one of those sub species is too damned similar to even be a sub species because they are all the same freaking cats. Do you get the idea that there's not much settled in evolutionary biology? I hope so.

Deer, Wonderful Cougar Cuisine.

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Cougar Food

So what do Cougars eat? Mostly meat, and anything it wants to eat, really. The cougar is an ambush predator that competes directly with jaguars, grey wolves, grizzly bears, and black bears for critters that are tasty. Cougars eat a lot of four legged herbivores such as deer, elk, moose, sheep, cattle, horses, and other things that cost ranchers lots of money. Needless to say, the man or woman that owns a ranch cares very little for cougars. The person into horses, and especially extremely expensive racing horses - is likely to treat you quite nicely should you shoot a cougar in their general neighbourhood.

So far as avid deer hunters go, they should just chill out. Deer populations are at extremely high to dangerous levels in a lot of places, and the cougars on the deer leases should be left alone, but do watch out when you're stalking to your deer stand. Oh, you're likely very well armed, but the cougar is the type to ambush a kill. You won't see the cougar, likely, and the big teeth piercing your jugular might well be the last thing you ever feel.

The cougar is an obligate carnivore, it must kill and eat as much meat as possible to survive. Cougars don't care so much about size, although I'm sure they prefer to know that they've more than they need at the moment, but they'll also eat insects, rats, rabbits, and you get the idea, hopefully.

Baby Cougar, or Cub - Oregon State Zoo.

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Cougar Life Cycle

I'm giving the female cougars of the world my prestigious best cat mothers award, as female cougars have been reported to successfully fight off grizzly bears in defence of their cubs. Friends, a grizzly bear is about the most powerful mammal in the Americas. The mother cougar is not to be messed with. Besides that, cougar fathers are terrible parents. Actually, that's not true, cougar fathers are sperm donating critters, they are never parents at all.

Momma cougars reach sexual maturity between one and three years of age, and then they typically have cougar cubs worthy of fighting off grizzly bears once every two or three years, one to six cubs per litter. Cougar cubs are born blind and spotted, but they lose the spots and gain eyesight. Sometimes they stay with their super awesome mothers for as long as two and one half years.

As to whether the female cougar prefers younger male cougars...oh never mind.

Young male cougars leave their mother earlier than do female cougars, but generally speaking, the average is around two years time when a cougar goes off on it's own to remain a solitary predator except for during mating or cub rearing times.

Cougars in the wild typically live between eight and thirteen years. An eighteen year old female cougar was shot and died early in the state of Vermont, the oldest wild cougar on record. As is typical, cougars in captivity have lived longer lives, but enjoyed less of the great outdoors. In 2007 a male cougar died in captivity during his thirtieth year of living.

Believe it or not, there is a major problem disease in wild cougars, feline immunodeficiency virus, which correlates exactly to A.I.D.S. in humans, has affected cougar life expectancy in the wild. It's safe to say that blood transfusions in the wild aren't responsible, and neither would be the sharing of cougar needles.

Mountain Lions or Cougars Also Come In Black.

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Purchase Cougar Oriented Jewelry And Information On Amazon.com!

Cougars

While any individual cougar is likely a vastly more powerful animal than any large grey wolf, a pack of grey wolves can and will kill cougars any time they are able, as cougars compete directly with wolf packs for the same prey. Lone wolves ejected from packs due to dominance issues, however, face the grim prospects of confrontation with the ever solitary cougars, and very likely often have dire wolf consequences.

Just as wolves will often kill coyotes, cougars will often kill bobcats and coyotes - when competing for food in the wild, might seems to make right for animal morality. In Yellowstone National Park, cougar kills are often usurped by American black bears. Bears will fight cougars over food, but bears do not actively seek to kill cougars in order to make them into food. Truly, a cougar has no predator other than mankind.

For reasons I can't imagine cougars were bred years ago with leopards in a German zoo, the results almost all died before reaching adulthood. Cougars make for poor hybrid animals, and if I have to tell you that they don't make for pets, then I'd prefer not to bother with you on that issue.

Ancient Native cultures of the Americas universally revered and venerated the cougar for it's grace and it's power. The ancient Inca city of Cusco was designed in the shape of a cougar. The ancient Mocha people loved to represent the cougar on their pottery, and the Inca god of the sky and thunder, Viracocha, is associated with the cougar.

In the Native American cultures of the pre United States, the cougar's wail was always associated with death, and it's nearly caused me a heart attack or two, I'd imagine, but instead, merely brought about massive anxiety attacks aggravated onward by family and other intangibles.

So far as cougar attacks on humans are concerned - it's not something to worry about too much, but happens most often during the late Spring and Summer when juvenile cougars are leaving their mothers. Cougar eating habits are learned, so it's highly unlikely for a cougar to have ever attacked more than one person, if that ever happens, then the first person's remains are likely digested cat food. In the one hundred year time period from 1890 to 1990 there were 53 reported cougar attacks on humans, and of those ten persons died. I can't help but think, however, that the survivors of cougar attacks were severely injured and traumatized. I place the blame for the increase in cougar attacks since that time period on urban sprawl, and so I should tell you that from the years 1890 to 2004, the death toll of humans gained ten lives more. Most cougar attacks have occurred in either California or New Mexico.

In the exceedingly rare case in which a person encounters a cougar, then cougar psychology is important to know. Cougars chase what appears to be fleeing from them, and this is instinctual behaviour for such predators. If one ever comes face to face with a cougar, it is important to NOT show fear, but to spread the arms and legs so as to appear larger and more powerful than one actually is in relation to the cougar, and if possible, throw something at it. Cougars do not want to fight to eat, they like to come up from behind something and pounce on it. Rather obviously, human children attacked by cougars are almost always fatalities.

I hope you've enjoyed this, and possibly learned something that you'd not known before about these beautiful animals, and as always, appreciate nature, don't abuse it.

The Cougar, America's Most Widespread Cat.

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Comments 82 comments

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

What a comprehensive hub. I like all the pics and the video. Voting this Up and Interesting.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Wes...I love this story.....I'm partial to the cat world. "beautiful" simply doesn't describe these animals. They are magnificent and regal. I wanted to reach in and snuggle with that adorable baby cougar..they really have such bright blue eyes? Some of your comments gave me a chuckle....I'd say we humans have more than our share of "cougar fathers" (the infamous sperm donors) being chased by the Child Support collection agencies...lol. Very good point about the blood transfusions and needle-sharing...you're funny, Wes. I realize now that I am a Mama Cougar, because there isn't a grizzly bear big enough or ferocious enough to keep me from defending my cubs!! People would do well to know this about MOST MOMS! Look OUT!! lol. My fur babies and I watch Animal Planet all the time...& yes, when my nest emptied of human kids, I filled my home with fur babies....and double-YES, my friends call me the Zoo Lady...(like I care)....I really enjoyed this hub.....voted it all across the board. Have you ever watched the YouTube video about Christian, the Lion? It puts every Hollywood Love Story to shame. I sob every time I watch it.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

Awesome hub...I love cats any kind shape or size...they are beautiful...love your hub...very informative...voted way up...debbie


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Impressive hub about a really impressive animal!


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

The Panther is one of my favorite animals. pretty comprehensive and informative hub.


Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

Really good article! I had a close encounter with a cougar when I was ten years old; I wrote a hub about it. I was fortunate; by a combination of good luck and good instincts I made it home without being attacked. I will edit my hub and put a link to this one of yours, okay? When my grandmother was a child in Alabama, they saw more than one black panther. She used to tell us bedtime stories about them screaming in the forest.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

They seem to be one of the most adaptable of cats. There are rumours of some populations of cougars even living wild in this country now. Cattle have been killed in suspicious circumstances. A couple of the cougars have been photographed from a distance. There are none around where I live, at least, not yet.

Thanks for another top rate article Wesman.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A brilliant hub;well informed and so ineresting.

A vote up across the board.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Gee, Wes....looking at the comment section in the hubs I read, looks like I talk too much. ya think? It's doesn't matter....I probably won't stop, but it's always nice to know why people roll their eyeballs when I enter a room....lmao.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great article. I didn't know the difference in sizes until I read your article. I've always thought that the Jaguar, Mountain Lion and Cougar were all relatively the same size.

Voted useful

John


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thank you alocsin - I really tend to have a lot to say on animal articles, but it's impossible to put all the valid info into such an article and keep it at a readable size for the average internet reader.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I certainly live in Mountain lion country. I love these big cats. They are gorgeous. Don't get me started on attacks on humans. Quite often people don't bother to notice warning signs that there are young around and don't bother to leave the area. Oh dear. I did get started.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks EFFER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I give the super momma award to Cougar Momma's...but the most dangerous Momma in the animal kingdom is the Grizzly Bear Momma - who will kill any threat on site...she's not interested in JUST keeping her cubs safe, she wants any perceived threat dead ASAP.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks Deborah Brooks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I do like the cats, but I think that I really just like critters!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

OK, then...The Grizzly Mama Bear thinks like I do. You didn't answer my question about "Christian the Lion," You Tube video. Did U ever see it? If not, you need to find it and watch it.. Yeah, that's an order from the Mama Grizzly bear.lol.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks very much, AudreyHowitt!!!!!!!!!!!!

I so love seeing persons comment my hubs that I'd never seen before, I take that as a vote of confidence!!!!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

rasta1 - Thanks very much, Sir!!! I'd like to make it bigger, and I now realize that I included no Jaguar/Panther size comparison....which I need to edit in.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Silva Hayes - AWESOME!!! I'll return the favour here as well.

Oh I'd like to have a cougar encounter....with a pair of binoculars and a rifle just in case !!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

christopheranton - OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, I'm not positive that that's a positive for the ecosystems around you....but it's interesting!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Eiddwen - Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!! I do try to enjoy my days as much as possible!!!! There's no other way to do it!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

EFFER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don't talk ENOUGH!!!!

I'm going to write about the Grizzly, you know!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

John Sarkis - Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!

I .....didn't even list the size of the cougar here, but it's significantly smaller than a Jaguar. Also, if you look, the size of the Jaguar's head is MUCH bigger in proportion to it's body than that of the Cougar.

The Jaguar has more powerful jaws than even the African Lion or the Tiger!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Flora!!!!!!!!! That's awesome!!! I'd love to photograph one from a nice distance. I hate to think of people shooting one.

Last Summer in the Texas drought there was a mountain lion walking down the streets of downtown El Paso.

Damned police just shot and killed the thing - they should have been trained and equipped for using tranquillizers on such animals.


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Hi, Wes - the baby cougar picture is deceptively cute; the one showing the deer kill says it all! Great and informative post. Voted up and interesting.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thank you very much Marcy Goodfleisch - it's easy to look at those babies and love them, that's just nature's way of (hopefully) protecting young un's from we human predators!

Quite another thing to think one of those will grow up to be a pet!!!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Exceptional research, subject matter and well written, Wes. I truly enjoy your animal Hubs. We still have big cats in my little Bosque County, Texas -- although it had better be a man that sights one as nobody will believe a woman! I lost not only a house cat but a pet chicken (Mary Margaret) to a big cat -- it was dark and I couldn't identify him but thought he was of the cougar type. Mentioned it to folks in town and got a lot of laughs. The next week some guy shot one that had one of his goats down -- oh, well, I told 'em! We don't have many cats left in this part of Texas but a few -- and I'd like to see them survive and multiply. Ranchers don't feel that way at all. Voted Up. Best, Sis


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thank you very much Sis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know, it's NOT been confirmed, but further down South of where I am there's reports of not just Cougars, but JAGUARS.

There are confirmed Jaguar sightings in Arizona now, and they used to roam around in Texas too.

A Jaguar is one bad kitty!!!!! WHEW!

Mountain Lions are big and bad enough...but them gosh darn Jaguars are more powerful than either Lions or Tigers, and they're not really that much smaller than African Lions.


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

great hub. gby


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thank you stars439!!


Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

fpherj48, I turned on the TV this morning to Animal Planet, and there was Christian the lion, greeting his two old friends after a year apart! I cried as I always do when I see this video.


iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

great hub...i love these wild cats!!!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks very much, iguidenetwork! I most certainly do too.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

As I now live in the Texas hill country, I can tell you that yes, mountain lions and bobcats are living here too. I have lost cats to them and my neighbors have lost chickens and rabbits. I'm pretty sure the coyote population is low out here because of big cats too. I live next to a very large nature preserve and I don't think I'll be out there camping anytime soon.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

THANKS VERY MUCH AUSTINSTAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh I'd love to spend some time down around the Hill Country...somewhere on these hubpages there's a couple hubs about the area.

You know - it's not been proven, but has been reported that there are now JAGUARS roaming the Hill Country...MUCH bigger kitties than Mountain Lions!

WOW!

Neither will just naturally attack a human - but gosh I'd go armed out in the sticks were it me.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

There is talk of panthers in the area and even a rumor of an ex-pet tiger or lion roaming around. My neighbor definitely found big cat tracks out by his chicken/bunny pen.

I have seen some strange critters out here and we have lots of scorpions and tarantulas. One tarantula moved in to my front porch steps for a while.

Once I saw something large and white run across the road in front of me one night and it was so fast I couldn't tell if it was cat like or dog like. Too small for a deer and too large for a normal dog or cat. I have no earthly idea of what that thing was. Scared the crap outta me.

This area - http://www.texashiking.com/Locations/ShowLocation.... is just down the street from me within walking distance!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Heck maybe they ...sometimes come out albino?

Here in Kaufman...we've got an abandoned big cat preserve, there are actually MORE TIGERS in Texas than there are in the wild in Asia.

It's pathetic how stupid some laws are.

http://www.priderock.org/


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I had a friend in Houston that raised a lion. He loved that cat and they were best of friends. One day a little girl tried to pet the lion and was unfortunately killed by one swipe of the paw. Brian was heart broken. The lion had to be put down of course. So sad.

I've always loved the big cats, but I do respect them. They are actually bigger than me.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

YUP!!!!!

That same thing will play out time and time again if it's allowed to go on.

It's not the cat's fault, I blame the Texas State Laws that allow for folks to try to ....have such animals as pets.

Here in Kaufman County a little girl tried to pet a Mountain lion in a cage - she lost an arm.


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Beautiful hub - comprehensive and well-organized. Great pictures, too. Voting up for sure!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks very much, theclevercat - I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really enjoy creating these myself! It's a total win!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Oh, this is marvelous information and an awesome video of the puma. I was very young when I read a novel that had 'hunting a dangerous puma' as theme. Ever since then I am fascinated by this animal. He looks very much like a female lion, and so-so clever! We have all kinds of cats down here in South Africa, but not the puma. Thanks for this extremely interesting hub about the cougar/puma.

Oh, and I must say, you have given me a great laugh with this paragraph: :Think of an herbivore like the Chinese Panda - the thing eats bamboo, and that's about it. Without bamboo, the Chinese Panda is no more. The Panda simply can not live without bamboo. The Chinese Panda has not adapted to where it can survive without bamboo...."


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Oh WOW Martie!!!! I'd love to visit South Africa!

The male puma's are still a lot smaller than a female Lion though.

The American Jaguar, however, is roughly the same size as a female lion - but has the strongest jaws of ANY cat!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Terrific Hub with lots of great information and fabulous pictures. I have always been a cat lover, big cats and small, but I learned a lot from your Hub. Good work.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks very much, phdast7 - I'm always learning when I create these as well!!! It's what I enjoy about writing online nowadays....I used to just "vent" online, LOL!


cbpoet profile image

cbpoet 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Westman Todd Shaw I've seen every cat you have mentioned in your story but never learned so many facts in one reading session. Thank you


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks very much cbpoet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I really do try to provide a lot of facts and also make it entertaining.


Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

This is the most complete set of information I have ever seen. I live in Nor Cal and in the mountains where we live, there are mountain lions that inhabit the area. They generally stay away from humans but in some instances, have been seen right in our community in the park late at night. We keep out dogs in at night because of this.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Wesman,

Thanks for publishing another informative, interesting Hub. I enjoy reading articles in which I can learn something new.

I live in the mountain foothills in Southern California, in a populated area surrounded by open space. We've had a bobcat in our backyard. Mountain lions have been seen in the city in which I live, in a neighboring city, and in the nearby national forest.


JKenny profile image

JKenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

A very well written article, Wesman. Packed full of comprehensive information and some funny anecdotes. I'm fascinated by the big cats in general. I remember reading that there was a species of Cheetah that lived in America around 10,000 years ago, which explains why the Pronghorn is so fast, it maybe share a common ancestry with the Puma.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Wes this is a superb hub! I live in Florida but I never want to see a Florida Panther. Ever. I'm getting used to the snakes and alligators and I could outrun them, but no panthers.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!! (2/20)


Charles Hilton 4 years ago

Excellent and engaging hub! And you're right about the eastern distribution of the cougar. In fact, the eastern cougar has been making a come-back and I actually saw one while in West Virginia back in Autumn of '93.

Voted way up!


American Romance profile image

American Romance 4 years ago from America

Friends and I used to hunt for arrow heads around the sand dunes of New Mexico. One of my friends was out by himself one day and walked over the top of a dune to discover a mountain lion lying under a bush, he slowly walked back and said the lion never moved..........Oh and mysteriously had a mess in his shorts!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

I LOVE your animal hubs. These cats are stunning. I love your thourough research too. I have a special request- I would LOVE to see a hub on my favorite animal, a Red Panda. Thanks and GREAT JOB!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Curiad - Thanks for that OUTSTANDING compliment!!!!

I'm always learning as I write about these kinds of things. I definitely don't ever just happen to know all of this and then type if out.

Maybe once or twice a year I will hear one of these things scream in the creek bottoms nearby...typically really late at night. It's bone chilling stuff!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Daisy Mariposa - both bobcats and mountain lions are practically EVERYWHERE in the USA nowadays!

I've never seen either in the wild...but I probably will sooner or later.

Last Summer during the drought in Texas, a cougar just walked through down town El Paso looking for water. The idiot police shot the thing....


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

JKenny - THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT!!! Or at least it could be. There's multiple ideas from different evolutionary biologist, but all of them seemingly agree that the cougars and the cheetahs shared a common ancestor!


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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

American Romance - I'LL BET THERE WAS!!!!!!!!!

I am about positive that though such an event would be ....wonderful to have and remember - that it would scare the FIRE out of me too!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Sunshine625 - Oh I think You're NUTS! Just kidding, in Florida what scares me is the Florida Crocodile!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those things make alligators seem like puppy dogs!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Charles Hilton - THAT'S RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!

There are videos on youtube where the person is filming a cougar near a road in Virginia!!!!

I think Wikipedia is going on ....breeding pairs or something, as the male cats will range far wider than the females. In any case, a male cougar all the way to Virginia tells me that there are females not too very far away!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

tammyswallow - Thank You!

I might take you up on that!!!! I'm "mostly" writing about critters of the Americas - North or South America, but there's no way I'd limit my subject matter like that at all, so maybe so!!!!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Wonderful piece--just came back for another view!


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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

AudreyHowitt - Thanks Again!!!!

I hope to be able to make more critter hubs that folks like so well as this one!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Great hub! Very interesting and informative. Great pictures and video too! I love the big cats, just wouldn't want to run into one in person! Voted up and interesting! :)


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks sgbrown !!! Heck no, I don't want to run into one either!!! I'd very much enjoy, however, seeing one in the distance while I was out fishing or something!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Yeah! Me too, I would like to get a picture of one in the wild, but not too close! :)


Dubuquedogtrainer profile image

Dubuquedogtrainer 4 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

Very interesting! Voted up. I was recently at a party where someone said they had seen a black panther in the vicinity and I thought, yeah, sure - perhaps an overgrown house cat, but perhaps they actually did see one of these cats of many names!


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Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Dubuquedogtrainer - It's not impossible at all! I don't know what percentage of them wind up with black coats - and of course some folks see shadow monsters from time to tome...but I'd never rule it out!!!


tbrian123 profile image

tbrian123 4 years ago from colombo, Sri Lanka

Wow.. what a great hub. and it's really interesting one. I love these cats. Nice work.. Cheers!!!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

tbrian123 - Thanks Very Much!!!!

I intend to do a lot more of these animal hubs too! I love to learn things about them as I go!


Perry the Cat profile image

Perry the Cat 4 years ago from Mouskin, Texas

Mom and I were driving through central Iowa one day and we saw a Margay! It's a Central and South American cat, the size of a small dog with a squared silhouette and circles instead of spots. It took us a while to identify it and even longer to figure out what it was doing in Iowa. After consulting the local university biology department, the official explanation: He should have taken a left in Albuquerque.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Perry the Cat - LOL!!!! That is an awesome story, and a fine bit of clever thrown in too!!!! Thank You!


Perry the Cat profile image

Perry the Cat 4 years ago from Mouskin, Texas

At your service :)


Hady Chahine profile image

Hady Chahine 4 years ago from Manhattan Beach

Amazing animal! Thanks for sharing.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks very much, Sir!!!! I'd love to see one out in the woods where I love to play - just so long as it is from a nice good distance, and isn't much of a surprise!


dwachira profile image

dwachira 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

A well researched article and i like the neat details here. I see some of these big cats but some of the information in here is new to me. Voted up and interesting.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

dwachira, Thank You Very Much!!!!!!!!

I've seen cougars in zoos....but I'm likely to see one here locally sooner or later...every once in a while if I am awake late at night, I will hear one screaming in the distance, as there is a lot of open land suited to them very near where I'm sitting!


Perry the Cat profile image

Perry the Cat 4 years ago from Mouskin, Texas

I wish I was a cougar. Mom's first Aby Bud had a round head and there were always people asking if he was a baby cougar. Once when mom and I were in Iowa working a flood, we saw a Margay run across the road. Its circular spots and square body were a dead give away. Mom called the zoologist at the local university and asked about it. He said they were native to South America and our sighting was probably an escaped illegal pet. He looked pretty shaggy and sick as he high tailed it across the road.


tessmctessy 4 years ago

That picture that's labeled "Mountain lions or cougars also come in black" is of a jaguar with melanism. You can tell by its spots on the bottom right of photo. There's never been a photo of a black mountain lion, nor bodies. Despite sightings.


Perry the Cat profile image

Perry the Cat 4 years ago from Mouskin, Texas

We have cougars in Amarillo, too, although out in the nearby countryside. I've heard them when I was working for Civil Air Patrol looking for lost people. We hustled back to our vehicle and made the rest of the grid in the truck.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Tessmctessy, I agree that you are "probably right" about that photo...and I have no idea why I couldn't find a photo of a black mountain lion....Even Wikipedia states that mountain lions, or cougars are sometimes born or grow into an all black hair coloration....so one would think there would be a photo of such SOMEWHERE. You might be absolutely correct on both counts.

What I know for certain is the photo I used...wasn't labeled "jaguar" on it anywhere....and if I remember correctly, the photo was of a cat somewhere North of where I live, in Texas....which seemed to indicate to me that it was no jaguar.

....but maybe it was a black jaguar in a zoo? I dunno, I might ought to look at the link again. It does look like a jaguar...but the other photos I saw looking for pictures of black mountain lions...were obviously jaguars.

Perry The Cat - Mountain Lions Won't Eat Other Cats Dude!!!!!! You'd have been FINE! :)

I'm told it is the juveniles that are dangerous - as the mountain lions learn what to hunt from their mother...but were things scarce, they might go for two legged deer....


Perry the Cat profile image

Perry the Cat 4 years ago from Mouskin, Texas

YIKERS! You mean Bambi's a double amputee? What is this world coming to?


Dorothy 16 months ago

I am in florida I have a wild cat. It was black velvet fur, very majestic pointed ears , with electric green eyes & very long tail. Now 3 years later its fur is turning more gray it is about 30" tall , shoulders about 13" wide body head to but is a little over 36" and very long tail. Anybody know what it is? It does not look like the panther picture I have looked at ears are all wrong.

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