07 Nov 2008

Large Economy-Sized Cougars

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In November or December 2007, this animal was hit by a truck on Highway 64 in northern Arizona. the cat wasn’t weighed at the scene but it took three people to lift it and its mass was estimated at 200-220 lbs (90-100 kg). It was over 2.1 m (6′ 10.7″) long.

Darren Naish, at Tetrapod Zoology, admires big cougars.

The ones you read about being shot for killing California joggers are typically on the small end of the size range, too.

The Puma, Cougar or Mountain lion Puma concolor (other names include panther, painter, catamount, mountain devil, silver lion, brown tiger, red tiger, king cat, Indian devil, purple feather (wtf?), mountain demon, sneak cat, leao and onça vermilha) is a highly variable animal (its historic range extends across much of the length and breadth of the Americas), but an average example from an average population might be anywhere between 1.7-2.7 m (5′ 6.92″- 8′ 10.29″) in total length, and weigh between about 60 and 80 kg (132-176 lbs.) (though the range is from 25 to over 110 kg (55-242 lbs.); Currier (1983) gives the ‘average’ range as between 55 and 65 kg, 121-143 lbs.). Pumas seem to conform to Bergmann’s rule (Gay & Best 1996), though the presence of jaguars and the size of available prey also seem to have an influence on their body size. Animals at the upper end of this range must be impressive beasts: larger than even a very big leopard, and only 10 kg (22 lbs.) or so lighter than an average African lioness. Here are some pictures of big pumas: the specimens might not be record holders, but I find them interesting as they show pumas that are, to me, exceptionally big.


Killed in February 2007, this individual was reportedly 210 lbs (95 kg). It has variously been reported to have been shot in Oregon or Alberta: apparently, Oregon is out as it’s illegal to hunt pumas with dogs there.

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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