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Cougars are large, slender cats with strong muscular limbs. Typically males weigh between 53 and 72 Kgs (117 - 159lbs) and females between 34 and 48 Kgs (75 - 106lbs). Their average length is between 165 and 270 cms (65 - 106 inches). Smaller Cougars are found in the tropical regions, while they get progressively larger towards the Northern and Southern areas of their range. When running they can reach speeds of 70Km/h (43.5 mph), they can jump 12 m (40 ft) from a stand still, and vertically leap 4.5 m (15 ft).
The Cougar's coat hair length and colour is determined by its geographical location, short hair in the tropical regions and longer hair in the northern and southern parts of its range. The colour of its coat varies from light grey in the southern parts of South America, various shades of reddish brown in the tropical regions and a light tan in the Andes and the west coast mountains of the USA.
Their head has black markings on each side of the muzzle and on the back of the ears. They have a pink nose and they are a creamy colour on their underside. The tip of their tail is black and they have spots when they are young, however these disappear when they reach adulthood.
Cougars have the largest range of any wild cat extending from the Southern part of Canada to the Southern tip of South America (as detailed on the right).
They are solitary animals and the males have home ranges that may cover over 100 square miles. The male's range generally overlaps the smaller ranges of several females.
Each cat normally honors the boundaries that have been set by others therefore territorial disputes are uncommon. Scrapes and urine sprays are the most common ways for Cougars to mark their boundaries, however males often pile up pine needles or leaves and mark them with a urine spray or fecal deposit.
Cougars are carnivores and their main prey are the white tailed and mule deer but depending on their geographical location their diet also consists of bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, elk, moose, tree porcupines, guanacos, hares, rodents and domestic livestock such as cattle, sheep, pigs and horses.
The Cougar has a great jumping ability and this enables it to ambush and seize its prey. Their prey is usually dragged off to a place of safety before it is consumed.
Humans are the only predators that Cougar have.