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How is a cougar different from a mountain lion?

How is a cougar different from a mountain lion?

How is a cougar different from a mountain lion?

Cougar and mountain lion are different names for the same animal, a large, powerful, solitary cat native to the Americas. As a result, it is known by countless names depending on where a specific individual lives. Writer Claude Barnes created a list of 40 different names in just English. This includes the most common names of cougar, mountain lion, puma, and catamount.

“cougar” and “mountain lion” refer to the same animal, Puma concolor. The name difference is primarily regional, with “cougar” being more commonly used in North America’s northern and central parts. At the same time, the “mountain lion” is more common in the southern regions. This sizeable wild cat is also known as a puma, panther, or catamount in other areas. They all refer to the same big cat.

A cougar and a mountain lion are the same species, scientifically known as Puma concolor. The difference in terminology mainly stems from regional variations in joint names. Both terms generally refer to a large, solitary cat native to the Americas, known for its agility, robust build, and ability to adapt to various habitats, including mountains, forests, and deserts.

In North America, particularly in the western United States, the term “mountain lion” is commonly used to describe this species. On the other hand, “cougar” is more frequently used in different regions of North America and Central and South America. “puma” is another name for the same species used in some areas, particularly in South America.

Is there a difference between a cougar, a puma, and a mountain lion?

Cougar, puma, and mountain lion are simply three different names for the same creature: Puma concolor. They are also, in some areas, referred to as catamounts.  In Florida, the native sub-species is called the Florida panther.

Here is a Florida panther (male)—photo from the Internet. Here is a young female California mountain lion (looking through our patio slider You can see that besides his male jowls and her more delicate, feminine face, they are the same beautiful animal species.

What is the difference between a cougar and a mountain lion?

“cougar” and “mountain lion” are often used interchangeably to refer to the same species of large felid, scientifically known as Puma concolor. However, there can be some regional variations in terminology and everyday usage. While both names generally refer to the same animal, some subtle distinctions exist in their usage and connotations.

Geographic Distribution: Cougars or mountain lions are widely distributed across the Americas, from Canada to South America. They are found in various habitats, including forests, mountains, deserts, and grasslands. They have adapted to diverse ecosystems and exhibit a remarkable ability to survive in different environments.

Common Names: “cougar” and “mountain lion” are this species’ most commonly used terms. However, regional variations exist in the names used to refer to this animal. For example, in some parts of North America, including the western United States, “mountain lion” is more commonly used. On the other hand, “cougar” is often preferred in regions like the eastern United States and Canada. Other regional names for this species include puma, panther, catamount, and more. The specific name used can vary based on the region and local vernacular.

Physical Characteristics: Cougars or mountain lions share a similar physical appearance regardless of the name used. They have a slender and muscular body, a round head with a short muzzle, and a long tail. Their overall body length can range from about 5 to 9 feet (1.5 to 2.7 meters), including the tail, which can be roughly one-third of their total length. Adult males are generally larger and heavier than females. Their coat color varies from tawny or brownish to grayish, with lighter underparts. This coloration provides effective camouflage in their habitats.

Behavior and Ecology: Cougars are solitary and territorial animals. They are known for their agility, speed, and stealth, which make them excellent hunters. Their primary prey consists of deer, but they are opportunistic and can feed on smaller mammals, such as rabbits, rodents, and occasionally livestock. Cougars are known for their ability to deliver a powerful bite to the neck of their prey, quickly subduing it. They are primarily nocturnal but can be active during the day, especially in areas with minimal human disturbance.

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Reproduction: Cougars have a polygamous mating system, with males mating with multiple females. Breeding can occur throughout the year, but some areas may have seasonal peaks. After a gestation period of about 90 to 96 days, a female cougar gives birth to a litter of usually two to three kittens. The kittens are born blind and helpless, relying on their mother for care and nourishment. They start venturing out of the den at around two to three months and become independent after about 12 to 18 months.

Conservation Status: Cougars or mountain lions are not considered endangered species globally. However, their conservation status varies depending on specific populations and regions. Encroachment of human activities, habitat loss, fragmentation, and conflicts with humans can pose significant threats to their survival. In some areas, they face persecution due to perceived threats to livestock or human safety. Conservation efforts focus on protecting their habitats, managing human-wildlife conflicts, and promoting coexistence.

Understanding the Regional Variations: While “cougar” and “mountain lion” are often used interchangeably, it is essential to recognize the regional variations in their usage. These variations can be influenced by historical usage, cultural preferences, linguistic traditions, and even local dialects. It is worth noting that these variations are not standardized and can differ even within a single country or region.

In conclusion, “cougar” and “mountain lion” generally refer to the same species, Puma concolor, a large felid found in the Americas. While they share similar physical characteristics and ecological behaviors, regional variations in terminology and usage exist.

Understanding these variations helps in appreciating the cultural and linguistic diversity associated with naming this remarkable species. Regardless of the name used, conserving cougars or mountain lions is essential to maintaining biodiversity, ecosystem balance, and the natural heritage of their regions.

“cougar” and “mountain lion” refer to the same animal, Puma concolor. The name difference is primarily regional, with “cougar” being more commonly used in North America’s northern and central parts. At the same time, the “mountain lion” is more common in the southern regions. This sizeable wild cat is also known as a puma, panther, or catamount in other areas. They all refer to the same big cat.

What’s the difference between cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, leopards, mountain lions, panthers, pumas, lynxes, and bobcats?

Cougar, mountain lion, puma = the same species. The scientific name is Puma concolor. The unscientific name I just made up is Whiskers McCatterson III.

The preferred name depends on the region, I guess, or whichever you feel like using. I mix-and-match. Sometimes, I call them different names in different sentences. I’m f***ing out of control.

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Cougars/mountain lions/pumas in Florida can also be called “Florida panthers,” but they’re not part of the Panthera genus, so they don’t get matching tracksuits like the “real” big cats. (They’re more closely related to the cheetah; more on that later.)

The artist formerly known as Meow has other names, too.

One of them is “catamount.” I like to think that’s the feline equivalent of “tantamount” (meaning equivalent).

You have befriended the wolves. That is catamount to treason!

But, erm, it isn’t. Let’s move on.

Jaguars and leopards = this group’s only actual “big cats.” They’re members of the genus Panthera, and they can roar. (The snow leopard is the annoying relative who can’t scream but is included as an honorary big cat since it’s also in the Panthera genus.)

They are visually quite similar; although jaguars are slightly more stocky and muscular, their rosettes (patterns on their coat) have little dots inside them. Leopards are very widespread, while jaguars are confined to the Americas.

Cheetahs are often confused with leopards, but they’re not similar. They’re not “big cats,” and their coat/body structures differ. They’re not in the Panthera genus; they’re closely related to the puma/cougar/catamount/Whiskers McCatterson III/please, can I stop listing names for it?

Here’s a coat comparison; see if you can tell which is a cheetah/jaguar/leopard:

I’m sensing a pattern here.

For more similarities/differences (and the answer), I go into 

Panther is a colloquial term for various cat species, and it’s confusing. Cougars/pumas/oh God, not this again are called panthers in some areas. The big cats are members of Panthera, so any of them could be called panthers, but lions and tigers generally aren’t.

Black panthers are melanistic color variants of leopards or jaguars. They’re not a separate species. (There are anecdotal accounts of black cougars, but no documented proof that it’s possible. I’m sure there’s evidence of it on some people’s search histories, though, and the results probably won’t be cats.)

There can be melanistic color variants of other species, like (very occasionally) bobcats, but the smaller species aren’t generally called black panthers. If someone uses the term, there is a 99% chance it’s a leopard or jaguar.

Melanistic bobcat. Hello, Bob.

The Lynxes also lack a long larynx made for roaring and aren’t “big cats.” Lynx is a genus, and there are four species of medium-sized cats within it….including the bobcat.

So there’s no difference between a “lynx” and a bobcat unless you’re referring to one of the other three (which are the Canada lynx, the Iberian lynx, and the Eurasian lynx.)

Bobcats are the most minor kind of lynx and live in North America:

Not a melanistic bobcat. Hello, Bob.

Eurasian Lynx:

Yes, I know I’m Asian.

The Canada Lynx is 80% more floofy and has attractive facial hair:

They are also wise guardians of this icy land and may give you a quest.

That’s enough comparisons for now. I hope it clears some things up. And even if it didn’t, lynxes are cool to look at.

Why are so many names for cougars, mountain lions, jaguars, and panthers?

Ok, here you are talking about two species: cougar/mountain lions/panther (Puma concolorand jaguar/panther (Panthera onca).

There are 2 reasons why those species have many different names:

  • BroadWidely distributed across the Americas, these species were named by hundreds of different Native American languages.
  • When the European conquerors and settlers first saw those species, they didn’t know how to name them, so they borrowed some old-world names and different Native American names. Also, those Europeans spoke English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Dutch.

As you can see, having so many different names is very ambiguous and leads to confusion; that’s why the academy decided to use one scientific name for each species of the world.

Puma concolor This is their range of distribution:

Cougar: this word comes from the French cougar, which derives from the Portuguese çuçuarana, which comes from the Guaraní guaçuarana. Lol.

Mountain lion: I assume they thought that cougars were similar to lions, and in North America, they are usually seen in mountains, so…

Panther: This name is mainly used in the state of Florida. It was a generic term used to talk about big cats by ancient Greeks and Romans, and it comes from Sanskrit.

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Some other names: In Spanish, we use Puma, borrowed from the Quechua language; nowadays, in Portuguese, they use suçuarana or onça parda.

Panthera onca This cute kitten used to live from the western USA to the Argentinian Patagonia (in red):

Jaguar: comes from Guaraní (jaguar), which means something like a wild beast; later, the Guaranís used jaguar to name the dogs brought by the European conquerors, and since then, they used yaguareté (the true wild beast) to talk about Panthera onca.

Panther: Some jaguars and leopards have an excess of melanin and are black. Many people call them panthers because they think they are another species.

In addition, Panthera is the name that scientists gave to the genus composed of lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), jaguars (Panthera onca), and snow leopards (Panthera uncia). This genus is included in the subfamily Pantherinae.

Panthera onca has many other names like: onça pintada in Portuguese, manchado and tigre (tiger) in some hispanic American places, uturunco in Quechua, nahuel in Mapuche, etc.

Can a cougar/mountain lion be domesticated?

Yes, but it’s a multi-generational process. You’re probably thinking of ‘tame,’ which is just a wild animal with a bond with someone/something or is otherwise just nonchalant. It’s possible to bond with them and form relationships, but this is not actual domestication

What is the difference between a mountain lion and a cougar? What should you do if you encounter either one in the wild?

They are the same animal, as is a puma. Suppose encountered in the wild, back away slowly. Make noise, but try not to sound panicked. Don’t run unless you are five feet from a door you can shut. Unleash your pet, if possible, to give it a fighting chance (by running away)….

The pet might also serve as a final distraction. Keep kids behind you and ensure you don’t take your eyes off them because if they think it can sneak up on you, they may just try. Get as much distance as possible from it. Pick up a weapon along the way. Get back to other people as soon as you can. Chances are, you won’t get attacked unless you are small in stature, but mountain lions are dispose of it properly cars

The dialect. One part of the country calls them cougars; one part calls them mountain lions, and in still other parts, they’re called pumas. Puma is rare around here. I live in sort of the “hub” of the nation, where north, south, east, and west meet, so mountain lion and cougar are equally common around here, though I’m not sure which term comes from which part of the country.

What is the size difference between cougars and mountain lions? Do they inhabit the same areas?

There is no difference at all—size or otherwise. Mountain Lion, Cougar, Puma, Catamount, and others are all common names for the same animal: Puma concolor. It’s a big cat that lives all over North and South America, from Patagonia to Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory. It has the most extensive range of any animal in the Americas and probably has more common names than any other.

Puma concolor, puma, cougar, panther, painter, mountain lion, catamount, and many other common names in English. Spanish speakers call it a “puma.”

What are the differences between a cougar and an African lion?

Cougars (or mountain lions, or pumas – all the same animal) are the most prominent members of the subfamily felinae. It is one of the three extant subfamilies of the cat.

Lions are members of the genus Panthera – one of the other subfamilies of cats. The pantherines consist of lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, and snow leopards. Every other cat aside from the clouded leopard (part of its genus called Neofelix) is a felinae.

In terms of physical differences, The lion is significantly more extensive and more powerful, with a much higher muscle mass even about body size (lions have the most skeletal muscle as a proportion of body weight of any mammal), and much more formidable weaponry in terms of limb thickness, claw and teeth size and biting power. In a straight contest of strength vs. strength, the biggest cougar in the world would be no match for even an adolescent lion.

The two are also very different in behavior: lions are the only truly social cats. They live in large, stable social groups, with females remaining with their natal group for their entire lives except in exceptional circumstances (such as a food shortage). Cougars are significantly less social, although not totally solitary; unrelated individuals have been seen coming together to share a meal or play. But they don’t form stable groups. Instead, a hierarchy emerges among males with overlapping territory, and they will essentially spaceshare with one another, benefiting from each other’s kills.

In terms of genetic similarity, the two are pretty distant from each other (as cats go – they’re both still cats, and so are closely related in the grand scheme of things. But they are from different subfamilies of cats. An analogy could be made between an old world and a new world monkey). Mountains lions are more closely related to house cats than actual lions.

How big is a mountain lion?

A mountain lion, also known as a cougar or puma, is a large feline that can vary in size depending on its location and prey availability.

On average, an adult mountain lion is about 6 to 8 feet long from nose to tail and weighs between 100 to 200 pounds. However, some mountain lions can weigh up to 250 pounds or more.

They have a muscular, sleek body and can jump up to 20 feet horizontally and 12 feet vertically. Despite their size, mountain lions are excellent hunters and can take down prey much more significantly than themselves.

Are panthers, cougars, and mountain lions the same?

Yes and no.

In the United States and Canada, the terms “mountain lion, panther, cougar, puma, and catamount” are all used regionally, colloquially, and interchangeably to describe this creature:

However, as we move South in the western hemisphere (central and South America), the term “panther” is often assigned to this creature:

Or even darker:

These are genetic color-variants of the SAME big cat native to these areas, the Jaguar:

Notice the first “black panther” photo clearly shows the underlying Jaguar pattern indicative of its typical coloring.

So, it can get confusing, depending on the “panther” you’re asking about. But as far as I know, no one calls Jaguars/Panthers “Mountain Lions,” or “Cougars” South of the [US] border.

Is Truthfinder really free?

Because they exist there, too, many mountain lions inhabit the Andes (Patagonia, for example). They are NOT Jaguars…they are the same species as found in the US/Canada.

An example where too many names for the same/different animals can get confusing.

What is the difference between a cougar, a Jaguar, and a mountain lion?

“Cougar” and “mountain lion,” as well as “puma” and a few others, are all common names for the same animal, Puma concolor.

Probably the animal with the broadest range in the Americas, pumas can be found in Alaska, all along the Canadian Rockies, in the western mountains and southwest deserts of the U.S., through Mexico, Central America, and to the southern tip of South America. They live in mountains, deserts, forests, and the Amazonian rainforests. There is a small population in the swamps in Florida, and individuals keep wandering across the U.S. Great Plains and turning up in Midwestern places like Michigan and Wisconsin.

Jaguars, “el tigre,” is a different animal, Panthera onca. Significantly larger than cougars, they live in South America and range up through Central America and up through Mexico, occasionally wandering up into the southwestern U.S.

Spotted like a leopard, they are heavier in build and up to several times the size of a leopard or puma. The ones in the Amazon rainforest are the most significant and are the third-largest cats of all, nearly, but not quite, the size of lions or tigers. Jaguars living in Central America or Mexico are smaller but still big cats.

What are the differences between a mountain lion, cougar, Puma, and panther? What are these animals called in different world regions?

Interesting question. As these animals tend to be territorial, their territorial names would be peculiar to that region – but their names translated into other regions would be whatever the local people chose to call them. For instance, the cat in English becomes le chat in French and il Gatto in Italian.

I got that right. I can’t comment on the German name for a cat, but I have heard quite a few rather unmentionable names given to Aussie cats, particularly when that fillet of fish suddenly disappears, and the cat looks smug).

What size are mountain lions?

Mountain lions, aka Cougars or Pumas, are the largest species of the genus Felis of the Felidae Family.

Their sizes vary from the region. In Central and South America, they tend to be significantly small, about 20–45 kgs, and max up to 60 or 70 kgs.

However, in North America, these cats can grow monstrous sizes in Canada. They average 68-73 kgs, but the most prominent males can weigh up to 100 kgs. Females are significantly smaller; they weigh 28–64 kg.females in British Columbia were weighed between 86.2 and 95 kgs. The largest confirmed puma ever recorded was 105 kgs.

There are also two reports of 118 and 125-kg cougars, making those the largest ever found, but they are not fully verified. It could have been full stomachs or fat accumulation because of the cold temperatures. Here is the size comparison of the three largest cougar subspecies Here are some giant cougars

Is there a difference between a cougar, a puma, a mountain lion, and a panther?

Many names, including mountain lio,n, puma, cougar, and panther, know the c, cougar. These names all have different origins. The name mountain lion comes from the early Spanish explorers who called it ‘gato monte,’ which translates to ‘cat of the mountain.

The name ‘panther’ is a generalized term that refers to a cat with a solid-coloured coat which they have. The name cougar comes from an old word that South American Indians had: cuguacuarana. It got shortened to cuguar and was then spelled differently. Puma is the commonly accepted scientific term.

What is the difference between pumas/mountain lions and regular “cougars”? Are they bigger and stronger than average cougars?

Puma, cougar, mountain lion, screamer, etc., are local or dialectal names for the same cat, Puma concolor. Most cats vary in size, and the cougar is no exception. They may weigh from 20 to 120 kg, though usually below 100 kg. In tropical rainforests, cougars often co-exist with jaguars, which are usually more extensive and robust. At such places, most cougars are relatively small.

The name “mountain lion” may have originated at places where the cougars became relatively larger. A cougar, especially a large cougar, has some similarities with a lioness, though they are not closely related. However, though it perhaps may be difficult to see the difference, it’s easy to hear it: Lions do roar (they belong to the genus Panthera, roaring cats). Cougars can’t shout; they scream (in addition, both may make a lot of other sounds, like all cats).

How is a cougar different from a mountain lion?

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