(Also called Mountain Lion, Puma
and North American Panther)
It is estimated
there are only 600 Mountain Lions left in Alberta.The cougar is
a solitary animal. Despite its great size and agility it usually
lays in hiding, waiting for prey to wander past and then giving
a short burst of speed to bring it down. Similar to an African
Lion it will leap onto the shoulder of its prey, biting deeply
into the back of the neck and allowing its weight to push the
animal down. It can tackle pretty well any animal in the Rockies,
including elk. If you have ever stood near an elk you will know
what a feat this is. A large animal such as a bull elk will provide
meals for 3 weeks! A few mountain lions live near to human settlements
and will attack a family pet (a mere snack for a cougar) as eagerly
as they will take on a wild animal.
Length can be up to nine feet.
While walking, shoulder height is typically almost 3 feet and
the Cougar can weigh 150 pounds or more.
Cougars have a black tipped tail (like Lynxes), but that is where
the similarities end. Cougars are much larger, have a short round
face with pronounced canine teeth, muscular lean bodies, with
fur varying from tawny red to various shades of brown and grey.
Tail is as thick as a mans arm and up to 32 inches long!
Cougars are the largest cat in the Western World and are
considered to be one of the most efficient hunters on Earth.
They can bring down a larger animal than a lion and don't
need to be in a pack to do so.