The puma and the African lion are the only two plain-colored big cats. However, the puma is generally much lighter in build, has a smaller head, and males do not have a mane. The puma's coat can be red-brown to blue-gray, and almost any color in between. They have a long neck, slim, elongated body, long tail and small ears. They are generally about the size of a leopard but weights and measurements vary greatly across the cat's broad geographical range. Males weigh 148-227 pounds, measure 42-77 inches head and body length, and have a tail of about 26-31 inches. Females measure about 38-60 inches head and body length, weigh about 80-133 pounds, and have a tail between 21-32 inches long.
In general, deer are the most important part of the puma diet, but they also feed on beaver, porcupine, hare, raccoon, opossum, and feral hog. They usually drag their kill to a secluded spot after eating its fill, then cover the carcass with vegetation. They may feed off of the same carcass for up to a week, depending on the size of the kill.
Habitat / Distribution
Pumas can live in coniferous forest, tropical forest, swamp, grassland, and brush country. They are found at elevations that range from sea level to 14.700+feet. They are the most widely distributed of any of the American cats. Its current range includes Canada, North America - west of the Great Plains, southern Florida, Mexico, Central America and South America.
Reproduction / Social System
2 to 3 cubs are born after a 90-95 day gestation period. Cubs are born with a spotted coat that disappears as they become adults. The cubs nurse for about 3 or more months, but begin to eat meat as early as six weeks of age. Young pumas become independent when they are about 2 years old, and littermates may stay together for a few months after leaving their mother. They are solitary animals. Females may share overlapping ranges, but there is usually little overlapping between resident males. One male range may overlap that of several females.