Skip links

Facts about Cougars For Kids


A cougar is a member of the cat, or Felidae, family within the scientific classification charts. The animal is large and powerful, and primarily carnivorous. It shares many characteristics with another Felidae family member, the leopard, except that the body of a cougar is typically free from markings, such as those of cougars and cheetahs.

Cougars are either black or tan in color. Their hind legs are larger and longer than their front legs, which gives the animal the ability to increase their speed very quickly.

The animals are also referred to as mountain lions, puma, panther, mountain screamer and catamount. Cougars have more than 40 names that are used throughout the world in various cultures.

What is the scientific Classification of a Cougar?

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Puma
Species: P. concolor

Quick fun facts about Cougars

Latin name: P. concolor

Conservation status of Cougars:
Least concern; cougars are primarily located throughout the Americas, from the southern tip of Argentina and Chile, through most of South AmericaCentral AmericaMexico, the United States and Canada. Populations have declined because of hunting throughout the living areas of the cougars. Certain populations have vanished altogether, including the animal’s inhabitance of the eastern United States. However, as the cat is a predator more often than it is prey, it does not currently face any threat of extinction. The cougar does, however, compete with human hunting and competition with other predators that are high on the food chain, such as wolves, black bears, grizzly bears and jaguars.

Cougars breeding:
Cougars live alone, except during breeding, which usually lasts around two weeks each year. Once a female is impregnated, she remains as such for a three month gestation period. The litter typically includes between two and five infant cubs. Most commonly, three cubs are born to a mother each season. The mother weans her cubs when they grow to reach around two or three months of age. After they are weaned, the mother teaches them basic hunting, foraging, sleeping and feeding techniques. After one year, the cubs are typically ready to set out on their own.
Female cougars typically breed once every two or three years during their lives, after reaching sexual maturity when they are two or three years old.

Cougars color:
Cougars are most commonly light brown, however they can range in color from light brown, to reddish brown, light grey, grey and black (in the case of the black panther).

Life expectancy of Cougars:
The average life span of cougars in the wild is anywhere between 10 and 20 years. This wide range depends on the climate conditions, human interaction, availability of food and threat of other animals near the cougars’ habitats. In captivity, the animals typically live over 20 years.

Predators of the Cougar:
Humans are the largest threat to the cougar species. The animal is very powerful and otherwise rests comfortably near the top of the food chain.

What is a baby Cougar known as?
A baby cougar is called a cub.

Female Cougars are called:
A female cougar is called a she-cougar.

Male Cougars are called:
A male cougar is simply called a cougar or a male cougar.

A group of Cougars is called:
Cougars are lone animals, like many other cat or Felidae family animals. They live with their mothers until they are around the age of one year, at which time they separate and live on their own. When and if cougars are ever seen in a group, they are called a pride (like lions).

What does a Cougar look like?
Cougars are large cats, however they remain classified in the small cat family despite the fact that some are as large as or larger than humans. The cats have solid bodies, with large hind legs that are longer and larger than their front legs. All four legs have paws that have retractable claws. The animal is typically light tan in color, with a white underbelly. They are spotted only when they are born, but within a few weeks of birth, the spots have been replaced with a solid tan coat of fur. Cougars have very long tails, small heads and short snouts.

How tall is a Cougar? 
Adult cougars typically stand around 24 to 30 inches high at the shoulder. Measured from the tip of their noses to the ends of their tails, male cougars measure around 84 to 96 inches in length. Female cougars are slightly smaller, usually ranging in length from around 72 to 90 inches.

How much does a Cougar weigh? 
Male cougars typically weigh anywhere between 115 and 250 pounds. This wide range is highly dependent on the age of the male, where it was born, where it lives, and what food supplies are available in and near its habitat. Similarly, female cougars weigh between 60 and 150 pounds.
Interestingly, cougars that live close to the equator are typically the lightest and smallest cats of the species. Alternately, the cougars that live closer to the North Pole or the South Pole are larger.

Where are Cougars found?
Cougars are primarily located throughout the Americas, from the southern tip of Argentina and Chile, through most of South AmericaCentral AmericaMexico, the United States and Canada.

What do Cougars Eat?
Cougars are carnivorous animals. They typically feet on prey including deer, raccoons, birds, elk, moose, sheep, cattle, horses, bighorn sheep, fox, mice, porcupines, and if no animals are around, the cat will eat grass to keep its energy as high as possible, so that it is ready for its next kill. In a typical day, if food is available, cougars will eat around 10 pounds of meat or other food.
The animal uses its large front legs, neck and jaw to bite and hold onto the prey to paralyze or kill the animal. Its front paws have five retractable claws while its back paws each have four retractable claws. The animal also uses these as weapons to stabilize and kill their meals.

After they have killed and eaten an animal, cougars cover the carcass with nearby brush and vegetation to hide it from other potential animals that might feed on what is left. The cougar then typically revisits the site during the following days to continue to feel on the dead animal.

Conservation status of Cougars:

Least concern; cougars are primarily located throughout the Americas, from the southern tip of Argentina and Chile, through most of South America, Central America, Mexico, the United States and Canada. Populations have declined because of hunting throughout the living areas of the cougars. Certain populations have vanished altogether, including the animal’s inhabitance of the eastern United States. However, as the cat is a predator more often than it is prey, it does not currently face any threat of extinction. The cougar does, however, compete with human hunting and competition with other predators that are high on the food chain, such as wolves, black bears, grizzly bears and jaguars.