What is a Puma Mammal?

The scientific name of puma mammals is Puma concolor. The other names of puma mammal species are cougar, mountain lion, panther, or catamount. The puma mammal species are the large brownish animal to the new world of cat comparable to the size of the jaguar.  Because the jaguar is the only other largest cat present in the western hemisphere. The concolor belongs to the family Felidae and they are widely spread over the new world mammals in a large extension from southeastern Alaska to southern Argentina and Chile. These panthers can adapt to various habitats including chaparral, scrubs, swamps, and forests. But they usually avoid the cultivation lands, flatlands and habitats, which are lacking in cover.  Further, Six subspecies of the Puma concolor are recognized from most classifications.


Most of the Puma concolor are usually prefer living near the equator regions and only a few prefer to live far from equator regions. The average weight of male puma mammals in North America is about 62 kgs. But in some cases, they may also exceed 100 kgs. Further, the average length of the puma is about 1.2 metres, which is excluding their tail of 0.75 metres in length. The average weight of the female pumas is about 42 kg. The average weight of a male puma is always greater than that of a female puma. 


The species name of puma ‘concolor’ represents the puma’s fur. The fur of the puma is uniformly brown on the sides, back, limbs, and tail. The shade of puma fur brown colour will vary depending on the geographical and seasonal changes from grey to reddish-brown. Further, some black colour pumas are also reported and also they have variable facial colour patterns. The long tails of panthers commonly have black colour tips and the tails of panthers close to the ground while they are walking. 

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General Characteristics of  Puma Mammal 

The puma mammal species are most active during night, dusk and dawn. The primary prey of the puma mammals is hoofed mammals, which are larger than panthers. According to a survey, a single puma in North America is killing about 48 ungulates per year and are acquiring a larger number of small preys like rabbits, raccoons, hares, bobcats, coyotes, porcupines, opossums, skunks, beavers, and other pumas. Panthers are also invading domestic livestock especially goats, sheep and young calves. But in the rare case, the puma mammals feed on carcasses that they did not kill. While hunting, puma mammals will move for 10 km per night searching for their prey and they hunt in several travel bouts with an average time of about 1.2 hours each. They alternate their travelling period as stalking, waiting in ambush, or resting. 


The puma mammal species are slower than most of their prey. They spring from cover at close range, usually from behind the intended prey. When the puma is feeding a large mammal, they minimize the spoilage and loss to scavengers by dragging the carcass to a planned cache site and covering it with leaves and debris.  During the daytime, these panthers commonly take rest within 50 metres of the carcass, and they will feed for an average of three nights on a large kill. The days except feeding on large prey, a puma takes rest in the same location for successive days. 


Adult male and female species will stay alone. Only during the breeding season do they stay together for about one to six days. Panthers usually remain silent for a long time and during that time they emit long, frightening screams intermittently for several hours. Puma mammals can breed throughout the year and the birth rate of panthers go to the peak during summer at higher latitudes. The interval between the births of concolor is about two years. The gestation period of puma mammal species is 90 days. After every gestation period, three to six cubs are born. Cubs of panthers are born blind and the average weight of each cub is about half a kilogram. 


Puma will choose their birth site near-impenetrable vegetation to keep their cubs free from their prey. The cubs of panthers can grow well to become independent within 40 - 70 days. Then the cubs became reared without assistance from adult males, in some rare cases, they kill their cubs which are not their own offspring. Most of the cubs will accompany their mother until attaining 10 to 26 months of age. But most of the cubs will die before they can fend for themselves. 


After surviving with their mother for the first two years, the juvenile females move for a distance of about 9 to 140 km. Further, the male juvenile starts moving for more than 250 km. Later they start to be involved in being part of the breeding population. Further, during this transition from juvenile to breeding individual, they sequentially occupy and abandon one to five small transient home ranges. The average lifespan of the panthers is about 7 to 11 years. 


Wolves and bears will kill pumas and in some cases commandeer the carcasses of prey killed by them. Most of the puma mammals are attributable to hunters, other cougars, or motor vehicles. The pumas are living at low density. There are one to five panthers per 100 square km. Further, they require large areas with sufficient prey. In this particular area, there are about two adult females for every male. 


Distribution and Habitat of Puma Mammals

The puma mammals are primarily encountered from the mountains of North and South America. The majority of individuals of panthers are widely found in rocky crags and pastures lower than the slopes grazing herbivores inhabit. Although they choose to live in those areas, they are highly adaptive and can encounter a large variety of habitats in forests, grasslands, tropical jungle, and even arid desert regions. With the frequent expansion of human settlements and land clearance, the panthers from the cat family are being pushed into smaller, more hostile areas. As these species are more adaptive to any living conditions, they are still sustaining in this world. 


The Puma concolor species are the fourth - largest species in the cat family. The well-grown adult of the male panthers can grow and reach up to 7.9 feet from nose to tip of their tails. Further, the average body weight of male puma mammals is about 115 pounds to 220 pounds.  Further, the well-grown female panthers can grow up to  6.7 feet from nose to tip of their tails. And the average body weight of female panthers is about 64 pounds to 141 pounds. Further, the total length of their tails is ranging from 25 to 37 inches. 


The heads of puma mammals are round with erect ears. They are the powerful forequarter animal and the necks and jaws are helping them to grasp and hold their prey. Puma mammals have four retractable claws on their forepaws, and also on their hind paws. The majority of puma species are found abandoned in more mountainous areas, so they have thick fur to protect their body from severe cold and retain body heat during freezing winters. The puma’s fur colour will vary from brown-yellow to grey-red, depending on their location and their habitat. 


Panthers that live in colder climates have more grey colour coats and the panthers living in warmer climates will have a more red colour to their coat. Pumas are comparably very strong and fast predators with long bodies and powerful short legs.  The hindlimbs of puma mammals are larger and stronger than the forelimbs of panthers. So, they are assisting them to become great leaders. 


Panthers can leap as high as 18 feet into the air and also they can leap as far as 40 to 45 feet horizontally. Panthers can run at a speed of up to 50 miles per hour, so they are adapted to perform powerful sprints while catching their prey. 


Interesting Facts about Puma Mammals 

  • Puma is the native animal of America and the other names of the Puma mammals are mountain lion, panthers or cougar. 

  • Puma concolor belongs to the subfamily Felinae 

  • The Puma concolor is the largest of all small cat species. 

  • The average lifespan of puma in wild lives is about 8 to 13 years but they have the capability to live up to 20 years. 

  • Pumas are the second heaviest species in the New World after the jaguar and the fourth heaviest in the world after the tiger, lion and jaguar.

  • Pumas have powerful large paws and sharp claws. The hind legs of panthers are larger and more muscular than their front legs to give them great jumping power.

  • They can run at 80 km/h and they can jump for the height of about 4.6 meters. 

  • Pumas will communicate through whistles, screams, squeaks and purrs. 

  • Pumas fur colour varies depending on the climatic conditions and habitat. 

  • The female pumas are named as she puma. 

  • The scientists from North America found that the home range of pumas varied from 20 km to 640 km. 

  • Puma can adapt to any habitats.

  • Pumas are solitary cats during most of their adult stage. 

  • Pumas can hunt larger prey that is larger than their size. 

  • A female can give birth to 1 to 6 cubs after 3 months of gestation period. 

  • They choose their maternal dens which are more protective to save the lives of their cubs. 

  • The adult female pumas will nurse their cubs for three months. But the cubs will start taking the meat after six weeks. 

  • A six-month-old puma can hunt their own small prey. 

  • After leaving their mother, the cubs will set their own territory. 

  • Female adults will reproduce young ones only once in two to three years. 

  • Pumas can climb the trees. 

  • Pumas can survive with the huge human population better than other cats. 

  • The smallest of all puma species and rarest puma is the Florida panther. 

Conservation Plans of Puma Mammals  

Many human settlement expansions have pushed the habitats of puma mammals to a small space. The IUCN has designated these genus members as the least-concern species and indicated them as low-risk species as becoming extinct in their natural environments in the near future. The reason behind still existence is they are highly adapted to changing habitat conditions.  Likewise, in many large metropolitan areas such as California, Los Angeles, pumas' habitats are highly disturbed on a large scale due to urban development and massive freeways.


But these barriers are not affecting the population of mountain lions in specific areas of mountain ranges, so they are continuing their breeding and increasing their genetic population. Many researchers and animal conservation teams from the countries are suggesting ideas to cities like Los Angeles to conserve the habitat of puma mammals to increase the urban wildlife population in the domestic and freeway areas by building safe cross freeways. 

FAQs on Puma

Q1. Is Puma a Black Panther?

Ans: The cougar is the big cat family and these are the same species of Puma concolor. This big cat family also includes the panther, puma, mountain lion and other 80 more species. These cougars are also known as panthers. But the black panther is not attributed to this species. 

Q2. What is a Female Puma Called?

Ans: The male puma is simply termed ‘Puma’, and the female puma is a ‘she-Puma’. The young pumas are termed ‘cubs’. 

Q3. What's a Bigger Puma or Panther?

Ans: Panthers are the largest cat species in the world. Puma is also the largest and wildest cat among the cat family. The word Puma was derived from the Quecha language of Peru.

Q4. What Does Puma Mean?

Ans: The puma is one of the largest and widest animals from the cat family.  The appearance of the puma slightly looks like a lion. The puma is also known as the mountain lion. Puma, cougar, and mountain lion are different names for the same animal. The species of pumas are widely found from northern Canada to South America.  The puma has the largest range of all other land species in America. 

Q5. What Colour is a Puma?

Ans: Puma mammals are large, secretive cats. The other names of pumas are cougars and mountain lions, and they can reach larger sizes than some other "big" cat individuals. The puma is the plain coloured big cat. The coat colour of puma will vary from grizzled grey to dark brown, with intermittent buff, tawny, and cinnamon red. 

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