COUGAR, MOUNTAIN LION, PUMA, PANTHER
The cougar is the largest small cat (Felini) in the world. It has about the same body size as the leopard, ranging on up to 7-1/2 feet including the tail. Unlike most small cats, the cougar has eyes with brownish irises and round pupils. The pelage varies from a deep reddish to a light sandy color. The young are born with black spots, but they fade as the adult coat comes in, except that the tail tip remains black, and a spot of black over each eye is retained. Throughout the life of the cougar the back side of the ears is a gray color with a lighter spot on each.
Cougars hold very large territories; the territory of the male may encompass those of several females. Cougars may migrate with their prey animals, as when deer seek lower altitudes during the winter. Males mark their territories with scratch marks on trees and with feces and urine. Females mark only with the products of elimination which are left on raised prominent spots. The female’s territory is the largest when she is hunting with her young.