The cougar is a cat of many names: Puma, mountain lion, and catamount, among others.
This adaptable predator has the widest range of any land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, and can be found in many habitats throughout the Americas, from Florida swamps to Canadian forests. In some areas, such as heavily urbanized southern California, cougars are increasingly sharing space with people.
Cougars are the world’s fourth largest wildcat after lions, tigers, and jaguars. They are stocky with large hind legs and a long tail—about a third of their length—which provides balance. Their strong back legs enable them to leap around 40 feet horizontally, or 18 feet vertically in a single jump.
Their scientific name—Puma concolor, which means “of one