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The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the Western Hemisphere, after the jaguar. Although large, the cougar is most closely related to smaller felines and is closer genetically to the domestic cat than to true lions.

A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources include ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle, horses and sheep, particularly in the northern part of its range. It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it can also live in open areas. The

Cougar
Mountain lion
Cougar walking on stones

Range

Throughout North and South America in a multitude of habitats.

Size

Weight: 29-100kgs (64-220 pounds)

Length: 1.5-2.75 m (4.9-9.0 ft)

Body Height: 60-90 cm (24-35 in)

Diet

Depenedent on where they live but ranges from lizards and small mammals to deer and elk.

Weapons and Traits

Has a jaw full of teeth, sharp claws, is an excellent climber, can jump very far and can run up to 72km an hour.

Battle Status

Lost to the Leopard

cougar is territorial and persists at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. While it is a large predator, it is not always the dominant species in its range, as when it competes for prey with other predators such as the jaguar, grey wolf, American Black Bear, and the grizzly bear. It is a reclusive cat and usually avoids people. Attacks on humans remain fairly rare, despite a recent increase in frequency.

Because of excessive hunting following the European colonization of the Americas and the continuing human development of cougar habitat, populations have dropped in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for an isolated sub-population in Florida. However, in recent decades, breeding populations have moved east into the far western parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Transient males have been verified in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Illinois, where a cougar was shot in the city limits of Chicago [5][6][7] and, in at least one instance, observed as far east as Connecticut.

A successful generalist predator, the cougar will eat any animal it can catch, from insects to large ungulates (over 500 kg). Like all cats, it is an obligate carnivore meaning it needs to feed exclusively on meat to survive. The mean weight of vertebrate prey (MWVP) was positively correlated (r=0.875) with puma body weight and inversely correlated (r=-0.836) with food niche breadth in all America. In general, MWVP was lower in areas closer to the Equator. Its most important prey species are various deer species, particularly in North America; mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and even large moose are taken by the cat. Other species such as Bighorn Sheep, wild horses of Arizona, domestic horses, and domestic livestock such as cattle and sheep are also primary food bases in many areas. A survey of North America research found 68% of prey items were ungulates, especially deer. Only the Florida Panther showed variation, often preferring feral hogs and armadillos.[

In the Central and South American cougar range, the ratio of deer in the diet declines. Small to mid-size mammals are preferred, including large rodents such as the capybara. Ungulates accounted for only 35% of prey items in one survey, approximately half that of North America. Competition with the larger jaguar has been suggested for the decline in the size of prey items. Other listed prey species of the cougar include mice, porcupine, and hares. Birds and small reptiles are sometimes preyed upon in the south, but this is rarely recorded in North America. Not all of their prey is listed here due to their large range.

Though capable of sprinting, the cougar is typically an ambush predator. It stalks through brush and trees, across ledges, or other covered spots, before delivering a powerful leap onto the back of its prey and a suffocating neck bite. The cougar is capable of breaking the neck of some of its smaller prey with a strong bite and momentum bearing the animal to the ground.

Kills are generally estimated at around one large ungulate every two weeks. The period shrinks for females raising young, and may be as short as one kill every three days when cubs are nearly mature at around 15 months. The cat drags a kill to a preferred spot, covers it with brush, and returns to feed over a period of days. It is generally reported that the cougar is a non-scavenger and will rarely consume prey it has not killed; but deer carcasses left exposed for study were scavenged by cougars in California, suggesting more opportunistic behavior.

Aside from humans, no species preys upon mature cougars in the wild. The cat is not, however, the apex predator throughout much of its range. In its northern range, the cougar interacts with other powerful predators such as the brown bear and gray wolf. In the south, the cougar must compete with the larger jaguar. In Florida it encounters the American alligator.

The gray wolf and the cougar compete more directly for prey, especially in winter. While individually more powerful than the gray wolf, a solitary cougar may be dominated by the pack structure of the canines. Wolves can steal kills and occasionally kill the cat. One report describes a large pack of fourteen wolves killing a female cougar and her kittens. Conversely, lone wolves are at a disadvantage, and have been reported killed by cougars. Wolves more broadly affect cougar population dynamics and distribution by dominating territory and prey opportunities, and disrupting the feline's behavior. Preliminary research in Yellowstone, for instance, has shown displacement of the cougar by wolves. One researcher in Oregon notes: "When there is a pack around, cougars are not comfortable around their kills or raising kittens ... A lot of times a big cougar will kill a wolf, but the pack phenomenon changes the table." Both species, meanwhile, are capable of killing mid-sized predators such as bobcats and coyotes and tend to suppress their numbers.

In the southern portion of its range, the cougar and jaguar share overlapping territory.The jaguar tends to take larger prey and the cougar smaller where they overlap, reducing the cougar's size.Of the two felines, the cougar appears best able to exploit a broader prey niche and smaller prey.

As with any predator at or near the top of its food chain, the cougar impacts the population of prey species. Predation by cougars has been linked to changes in the species mix of deer in a region. For example, a study in British Columbia observed that the population of mule deer, a favored cougar prey, was declining while the population of the less frequently preyed-upon white-tailed deer was increasing. The Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species endemic to one region of dense cougar population, has seen decreased numbers due to cougar and gray wolf predation.Nevertheless, there is a measurable effect on the quality of deer populations by puma predation.

In the southern part of South America the puma is a top level predator that has controlled the population of Guanaco and other species since prehistoric times.

Battle against the LeopardEdit

A cougar that escaped from an exotic wildlife park prowls the plains of Africa, looking for some prey. Up in the trees above a male leopard watches the cougar tentatively. Seeing the cougar as a threat the leopard drops out of the tree, landing right in front of the cougar. The big cat flinches back as the leopard swipes his paw at the cougar, his claws giving the cougar a gash on the cheek. The mountain lion then lunges forward, grabbing the leopards neck with it's huge paws and trying to clamp his jaws around it's neck. The leopard swipes furiously at it's aggressor and manages to dislodge it from the leopard's neck. It then proceeds to grab the puma's foot in it's jaw and digs its large fangs into the cougar's foot. The cougar yelps in pain and viciously slashes the leopards face with it's claws until the leopard releases its grip. Even then the cougar continues it's relentless assault forcing the leopard to flee to the tree it was in lying in before, with the cougar in hot pursuit.

The leopard scrambles as far out across the branch as it can before being trapped at the edge of the branch. It turns to face it's pursuer, who is limping quietly behind the leopard. The leopard lunges at the cougar and the two grapple for a short while before the leopard flings the cougar out of the tree, a snapping sound echoing through the plains as the cougar snaps it's thigh bone of the hard ground below. The cougar pulls it self to it's feet weakly and lets out a quite snarl before limping off into the bushes. The leopard roars in victory and begins to tend to his wounds.

Winner Leopard

Experts Opinion

The leopard won because of it's larger size and superior strength.

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