PUMA, COUGAR, MOUNTAIN LION (Felis concolor)
Habitat: North and South America - Rocky Mountain states, desert ranges of Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Costal ranges of California, Washington an Oregon. Extinct east of the Mississippi River, except for a small population in Florida.
Length: 6 to 8 feet
Weight - 80 to 200 pounds
Diet: Mainly deer, but also young of elk and moose, mountain goats and sheep, turkey, beaver, peccary and porcupine.
Gestation: approximately 95 days
The puma is the second largest of the New World cats, the jaguar being first. Hunted to extinction in the Eastern States, under the misguided belief that all predators are evil, the puma is holding it's own in the Western States. Only recently have we begun to realize the importance of this large and graceful cat, not only as a predator of rapidly expanding deer populations, but as a controlling factor on smaller predators. Pumas are solitary, coming together for mating or in the case of a females with young. Their natural body coloration makes them difficult to see under natural conditions. A puma would probably kill one deer a week, raking leaves and brush over the partially consumed carcass to hide it from other predators.