Habitat and Home Range
• Cougars use steep ravines, rocky outcrops, boulders, or vegetation such as dense scrub and forest to hide while hunting.
• Adult male cougars are widely roaming, covering a range of 50 to 150 square miles depending on the cougar’s age, season, terrain type, and prey availability.
• The home ranges of adult male cougars often overlap those of three or four females.
• The range of females is about half that of males and there is considerable overlap in range of females.
• Female offspring often establish a territory adjacent to the mother, while virtually all males travel considerable distances from the natal area.
Food and Feeding Habits
•Cougars are most active from dusk to dawn, although they sometimes travel and hunt during the day.
• Adult cougars typically feed on deer, elk, mountain goats and wild sheep, with deer being the preferred and most common prey.
• Other prey species, particularly for younger cougars, include raccoons, coyotes, rabbits, hares, small rodents, and sometimes pets and livestock.
• A large male puma living in the Cascade Mountains will kill a deer or elk every 9 to 12 days, eat up to 20 pounds at a time and bury the rest for later.
• Except for females with cubs, cougars are solitary, migrating between prey locations, covering up to 15 miles in a single night.
• Cougars rely on short bursts of speed to ambush prey. A cougar can pursue an animal for an hour or more.
• Cougars do not use dens like bears. They can settle down for up to six weeks while the kittens are immobile, but then they’re almost always on the move, building couches along the way.
• A cougar’s couch is used for resting, shelter from the weather, and for rearing the young.
• In rough terrain, divans are often located in a cave or in a flat corner of a cliff or ledge. In less mountainous areas, divans are found in wooded areas, thickets, or under large roots or fallen trees.
• Day beds are often found near slaughterhouses. The preparation of day beds is not carried out.
- Cougars can breed year-round, but breeding occurs most frequently in winter and early spring. Multiple females may mate with a resident male whose home range overlaps with theirs.
- After 91 to 97 days of gestation, one to four (but usually two) young are born.
- The bond between male and female is short (about ten days) and the male cougar plays no role in rearing the young.
- Kittens stay with their mothers 12 to 19 months after birth.
- Puma females usually reproduce every two years.
Mortality and Longevity
- The two most common causes of natural death in cougars are being killed by other cougars or by prey during an attack.
- Humans are likely the leading cause of death in cougars from hunting, robbery, and vehicle collisions.
- Male cougars can live 10 to 12 years in the wild; while the females usually live longer.