Wednesday 19 October 2011

What does the cougar eat?

What does the cougar eat? It eats a wide range of prey from mice to moose! The prey size varies depending on where they are. Cougars have a very wide distribution covering North, Central and South America.

In temperate areas the cougar usually preys on animals that are as large or larger than itself. In tropical areas the cougar preys on animals that are half its size. The smaller prey in the tropics is due to the presence of the larger jaguar. The tropics in this instance refers to Central America and South America where the jaguar is found.

Cougar attacking goats in Montana, USA.

In North America deer makes up 60% - 80% of prey items. The average weight of this prey is 39 to 48 kilograms.

In Florida the cougar feeds on feral pigs, raccoons and armadillos. The average (mean) weight of this prey is 17 kilograms. In Nevada and Mexico the cougar has killed horses. They sometimes kill sheep without the need to feed on the carcass.

In the Everglades National Park deer make up 78% of prey. In Central and South America the cougar feeds on a variety of small and medium sized mammals such as brocket deer, agoutis, viscachas (a rabbit like rodent), paca and pudu. They also kill deer (marsh and pampas deer).

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