Scientifically called as Puma concolor cougar or Felis concolor cougar, and also Known by many common names like puma, mountain lion, catamount, and panther; the Eastern cougar is the largest North American cat. Nelson and Goldman first assigned the eastern cougar to the subspecies Felis concolor couguar in 1929. These cats have inhabitation in the northeastern portion of the North American range. Once the most widely distributed land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, cougars have been eliminated in most of their native habitat. The cougar has been considered to be extirpated from east of the Mississippi River (since 1900 and except Florida); and in the west, it is still quite common in wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountain states and British Columbia.
The cougar’s Latin name “concolor” gives a clue to its appearance which means with one color. The fur of an adult cougar is uniform red-brown or gray-brown. They have long, slender bodies with very long tails and broad, round heads with erect, rounded ears. These cats can swim, climb trees and leap horizontally and vertically equally well. Adult cats average from 6 feet (in case of females) to 8 feet (in case of males) long, including their tail. Males weighing around 140 pounds are larger than females, which weigh around 105 pounds.
Eastern cougars’ primary prey was mainly white-tailed deer, but they also hunted eastern elk (now extinct) and porcupines and other smaller mammals. They are solitary, territorial hunters. Cougars are mostly lone animals; except for the period while mothers raises their cubs and the time a pair spends together while mating. Cougars begin breeding at two or three years old and breed once every two or three years. A litter of two to three kittens are born after a 3 month gestation period. The kittens reach 10 pounds at eight weeks, and may weigh 30 to 45 pounds at six months. Females spend 18 to 24 months raising cubs to maturity. The Eastern Cougars live an average of eight years.