Official website for the City of Aurora, Illinois. Mayor Robert J. O'Connor

Fact Sheet - Cougar


Common Name


Scientific Name

Felis concolor


  • Cougars are also known as Mountain Lions, Puma, and Panther.
  • Cougars are the largest cats in North America.
  • Cougars do not roar like lions or tigers. They make a chirping sound, much like a bird, and also a whistle sound.
  • Cougars occur in the wild in the Western and Southewestern parts of the United States. They also occur through Mexico, Central America and South America. In those areas they are known as Panthers.
  • The Florida Panther is a subspecies of Cougar that is extremely endangered. There are fewer than 100 left in the wild. Habitat loss and poaching are the main reasons for their low numbers.
  • Cougars are large, muscular cats. They average 7 to 9 feet in total length of which up to a third is tail and weigh between 150 and 200 pounds when full grown.
  • An adult cougar is tan colored with black coloration on the sides of its muzzle, the backs of the ears, and the tip of the tail. Couger kittens are mottled with black spots and have ringed tails until they are about 6 months old. Kittens also have blue eyes until they are about 16 months old, at which time the color turns to a hazel color.
  • The cougar has the greatest natural distribution of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere except for man.
  • Cougars primarily feed on large mammals, preferring deer, but they will also eat coyotes, porcupines, beaver, mice marmots, hares, raccoons, birds and even grasshoppers. They kill by stalking to within 30 feet of their prey before pouncing from its hiding place. It leaps onto its victim’s back and bites into the neck and holds with its sharp claws.