Puma/Mountain Lion/Cougar –Puma concolor. I am a hunter, powerful, sleek and mysterious. I am a creature of dawn and dusk. I stalk my prey silently, invisibly, in dense underbrush and on rocky outcrops. With a leap to the back of my prey, I kill with a single bite to the neck. I am known as mountain lion, puma, cougar and catamount. By any name, I am the top predator, the one all other species fear.
My kind prefer to live alone, coming together only to mate. After mating, we go our separate ways—the males to be alone, the females to raise their cubs in solitude. Typically, females have two cubs, born blind and helpless, like the spotted kittens that they are. As cubs grow they lose their spots, and become more independent, soon hunting small animals such as rabbits and squirrels on their own. They leave when they are about 2 years old to live their solitary lives. We roam enormous territories and can live for a very long time –up to 30 years, if we are not killed by an accident or by hunters.
I eat all sorts of animals; in Wyoming I prefer deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and even young moose. Sometimes I eat porcupines, but they are hard to eat because of their quills. We have to turn them upside down and attack their soft and unprotected bellies. I know that sounds cruel, but we pay the price–sometimes we end up like pin-cushions after an encounter with them!
I drag my dead prey to a secret place, cover it with leaves, and return to feed again when I am hungry. Sometimes others, poorer hunters than I, discover my hidden prey and feast on it. Magpies, vultures, and eagles scavenge my prey during the day; at night it is foxes and coyotes. By killing, I provide others with food. Nothing goes to waste in nature.