Species of the Month: Cougar (May, 2022)

May 31, 2022

Cougars otherwise referred to as pumas or mountain lions, are Canada's largest and most formidable wildcat. They are extremely elusive, so the likelihood of you coming across one in the wild are very slim!

Defining Characteristics:

  • Males may grow to be two meters tall and weigh more than 60 kg
  • Females are approximately 40-45kg
  • short brown or greyish hair that is occasionally red. Their abdomen and breast are white.
  • black marks on the ears and snout
  • long, black-tipped tail
  • kittens have spotty coats until they are approximately 6 months old.

Habitat and Diet:

Cougars prefer large areas of unspoiled forests or other natural environments with very little human activity.

White-tailed deer are a vital food source for cougars in Ontario and must be plentiful in the forests to support them. Many of EBC nature reserves are not accessible to the public making perfect habitat for cougars.

Cougars will also feed on other mammals such as moose calves, beavers, porcupines and other small mammals!

Conservation Status and Threats:

Human disturbance and forest clearing are the most serious threats to Cougars. EBC permanently protects land cougars so desperately need. By supporting EBC to protect more land in Ontario, we can give them more space to roam and thrive.

Interesting facts:

  • Cougars are very strong swimmers and climbers, and have the ability to jump over six meters!
  • Cougars are nocturnal hunters
  • Cougars don't usually pursue their prey. They are masters of concealment and will slink forward slowly and quietly before pouncing.

Cougars and EBC:
Several cougar sightings have been at wilderness preserves on Manitoulin Island and likely at Heavens Gate.