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Difference Between Cougar and Mountain lion

Cougar vs Mountain lion

Mountain lions and cougars are animals; the same animal referred to with different names depending on the region they are found in. “Cougar” also stands for women over the age of 40 or more who are interested in dating men at least 10 years younger than them. This article will not deal with cougar women but with the animal Puma concolor also known as cougar, mountain lion, puma, mountain cat, catamount ,and various other names also.

Cougar/Mountain lion

A cougar or mountain lion belongs to the Felidae family. It has made a record in the “Guinness” book due to the maximum names by which it is referred to. Some of the common names of cougars are: puma, panther, mountain cat, mountain lion, mountain screamer, painter, catamount, etc. The reason why it has so many names is because the mountain lion is widely distributed and found in a vast range.

Habitat and distribution

A mountain lion has the greatest range compared to any terrestrial animal in the Western hemisphere. It is dispersed from the Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes in South America. The prime reason for its vast distribution is its great adaptability. The cougars have adapted themselves to many varied habitats like lowlands, all kinds of forests, and mountainous deserts. They prefer dense underbrush, precipitous canyons, but can survive in open areas too with little vegetation.

Physical characteristics

The mountain lion is related more closely to felines which are smaller than lions. They are genetically closer to the domestic cat. They are agile and slender being the fourth largest in the cat family. The males weigh from 115-220 pounds, and females weigh from 65-140 pounds. The cougars have low-pitched purrs and growls. Unlike other lions, they cannot roar but can scream, thus the name “mountain screamer.” The mountain lions have a plain coloring because of which they acquired the name “concolor.” Their underbodies have lighter patches. The cubs are born spotted with blue eyes and tails with rings on them. One thing which distinguishes them from other cats is their large paws and their hind legs which are the largest in the cat family.

Food habits

The cougars are efficient predators. They stalk and ambush their prey before hunting them. Their main food consists of deer, bighorn sheep, elk, horses, moose, domestic cattle, etc. The cougars which are found in northern ranges also prey upon insects and small animals like rodents. An exception is the Florida panther which feeds on armadillos and hogs too.

Social structure

Cougars are solitary animals. The males leave soon after mating, and the females do all the parenting. Only females live in groups with the cubs. The litter size is two to six cubs, and the mortality rate is high. Young ones leave their mothers at the age of almost two.


“Cougar” and “mountain lion” are the same animal. The names are different because they are distributed in a wide range, and people refer to them with different names depending upon their region.

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1 Comment

  1. I live in the small town of Sultan, Wa An$ I was on my way home from work and I approached the top of the hill and started down the other side a large cougar or mountain lion jump in front of me and I almost hit it it vanished up in the woods just to the right of me.. I t had to weigh t atleast 200 lbs. Is it common for a cougar or mountain lion to be that close to our neighborhood.

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