Cougar Facts for Kids
Do you know what a cougar is? Cougars are large, powerful cats that are native to a variety of different habitats across the world. Cougars live in Western North America, parts of South America, and some like the Florida Panther, even live in Florida! Are there cougars near where you live? Find out information about cougar habitats, diets, and more with these cougar facts for kids.
You can download a FREE Cougar Word Search for Kids too to review all the fun facts! Check it out at the bottom of the post.
1. Cougars are extremely large cats, but believe it or not, they aren’t born as big cats. Baby cougars weigh about the same as small cats and kittens at birth, but by the time they reach adulthood, they can weigh up to 200 pounds! This makes them the fourth largest species of wild cats in the world, behind only tigers, lions, and jaguars.
2. Adult cougars typically weigh between 100 and 200 pounds, although some individuals can reach weights of up to 230 pounds! The largest cougar on record weighed 232 pounds and some people have reported seeing cougars even larger than that. Wow!
3. Adult males are typically larger than adult female cougars, with an average length of around 8 feet from nose to tail.
Cougar Facts for Kids – Hunting and Food
4. Although cougars are often thought of as solitary animals, they typically hunt and travel in groups called “coalitions.”
5. Cougars have excellent eyesight and hearing, which helps them spot prey from great distances and avoid being detected when they are hunting.
6. Cougars are carnivorous animals and hunt a wide range of small and large prey. They feed primarily on mule deer and fallow deer, but have also been known to eat small rodents or take down large mammals like elk and moose when necessary.
7. Once they have located their prey, cougars use their agile bodies and powerful jaws to stalk and attack, typically delivering a fatal bite to the neck or head.
Characteristics of Cougars
8. Despite their size and strength, cougars are extremely agile and can leap up to 15 feet high in a single bound. They have powerful hind legs and muscular hind feet that allow them to jump high and far. Cougars can jump horizontally up to 40 feet!
9. Their long legs and muscular bodies enable them to run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour over short distances. That’s really fast!
10. Cougars are also excellent swimmers and have been known to cross rivers as large as the Columbia River in Washington State.
Cougar Facts for Kids – The Lives of Cougars
11. Adult male cougars mate with female pumas or cougars after a gestation period of about 90 days. This typically occurs in late winter or early spring. After mating, females will give birth to litters of up to 6 kittens, who stay with their mother cougar for at least 2 years before venturing off on their own.
12. Have you ever seen a cougar kitten? Cougar kittens are adorable little balls of fluff with tiny black spots. Don’t be fooled by their cuteness, though! These small mammals will grow into powerful predators after just a few years of age.
13. Cougars typically live to be around 10-12 years old in the wild, but can live much longer in captivity.
14. You heard that right! Cougars can be kept in captivity in zoos, wildlife sanctuaries or even as pets. Some people keep cougars as pets, just like domestic cats. Would you ever want a pet cougar?
Cougars and Humans
15. Despite their reputation as top predators, cougars are actually quite shy and rarely ever attack humans unless they feel threatened or provoked.
16. However, cougar attacks are still relatively rare and are usually the result of misidentification by the cougar rather than deliberate targeting of humans.
17. If you encounter a cougar in the wild, try to stay as calm as possible and slowly back away while maintaining eye contact with the animal.
18. Never approach or corner a cougar – if you do spot one of these wild animals, give it plenty of space and immediately report your sighting to park rangers or wildlife officials.
Cougar Facts for Kids – More Interesting Facts
19. The cougar is also known as the puma, mountain lion, or catamount, depending on where you live.
20. Did you know cougars are mostly nocturnal animals? However, they may also be active during the day depending on their location and the availability of prey.
21. Cougars are also known for their distinctive screams, which have been described as somewhere between a dog’s howl and a pig’s squeal.
Cougars as an Endangered Species
22. Although cougars were once found across North and South America, cougar populations have declined sharply in recent years due to hunting and habitat loss.
23. Today, cougars are considered a “vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) meaning they are at risk of becoming endangered.
It is important we protect the population of cougars in eastern North America and across the Globe. We need to preserve the cougar habitat through conservation efforts and activities. Think about what you do in your own community and share your ideas with friends and family. Together, we can save these beautiful animals.
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