Cougar, a large cat found in various parts of North and South America. In the United States, cougars are found mainly in southern Florida, along the Mexican border of Texas, and west of the Rockies. The cougar is known by many common names, including mountain lion, puma, painter, panther, and catamount.
Cougars grow to a length of about 7 1/2 feet (2.3 m) including a 3-foot (0.9-m) tail. They reach a height of 2 1/2 feet (0.8 m) at the shoulder and weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kg). Cougars are tawny to gray with white underparts and have dark brown markings on the back of the ears, the sides of the nose, and the tip of the tail. The Florida cougar, or Florida panther, a subspecies native to southern Florida, is reddish brown.
Cougars are solitary by nature and are active mainly at night. They are good leapers and tree climbers. They have no set breeding season, but most young are born in the spring. Litter size is usually from two to four. The young are spotted and have dark rings on the tail. Cougars stalk, rather than chase, their prey, mainly deer and small animals. After killing, they drag the carcass to a concealed spot for eating. The Florida cougar and the eastern cougar, or eastern puma, a subspecies found along the east coast of the United States, are endangered due to indiscriminate hunting and human encroachment on their habitat.
Cougars belong to the cat family, Felidae. The cougar is Felis concolor; the Florida cougar, F. c. coryi; the eastern cougar, F. c. cougar.