objectives
Photo courtesy Sebastian Kennerknecht 

PUMA BIOLOGY

The puma in its natural element is an awe-inspiring animal, combining incredible physical capabilities, intelligence, stealth, beauty, and eyes that evoke a deep sense of awareness. Pumas live solitary lives except when mating, and females when raising their young. They avoid humans and live in low densities with vast home ranges.

Physical Characteristics

Color:
· grizzled gray to dark brown
· intermittent shades of tawny and cinnamon red

Weight:
· females 70-145 lbs
· males 80-200+ lbs

Sound:
· cannot roar, lacking special apparatus in larynx
· makes similar sounds to a house cat
· chirps, whistles, growls, hisses and 'screams'

Length:
· 5-9 ft (with tail)
· long, cylindrical tail with dark tip
· tail = 40% of body length

Jump:
· vertical jump to 18 ft
· horizontal jump 20-30 ft
· long and powerful hind legs

Feeding:
· obligate carnivore, must eat meat
· generalist predator, opportunistic
· will eat almost any animal, mouse to moose
· deer make up 60-80% of diet in N. America
· adult male needs 6000 calories/day = 1 deer/week

Reproduction:
· females begin reproducing at about 2 years old
· females are pregnant or raising young for 75% of their lives
· pumas are solitary except during mating and females with cubs

Lifespan:
· in the wild 6-13 years, usually on the lower end of that
· in captivity, up to 15 years or more

Geographical Range

The Puma has the greatest geographical range of any land mammal

Local Home Ranges:
· female: 40-80 sq. miles
· male: 100-200 sq. miles
· one male overlaps with several females
· female-to-female will tolerate some overlap
· male-to-male do not overlap, may fight to the death in a dispute

Territorial Range:
· from Canada to the tip of South America
· over 110 degrees latitude
· sea level to 14,000+ feet
· many ecoregions and habitats

Historical Status:
· ranged from east coast to west coast in both N. and S. America
· Native Americans offered reverence and respect

Current Status:
· European settlers brought fear and abhorrence
· extirpated from eastern half of N. America
· extirpated from large blocks of S. America