The Puma Purrs

Photo by Dra Martha Cordero Cordero

Photo by Dra Martha Cordero Cordero

The puma, also known by many as the cougar, is the biggest «cat» that purrs. It does not roar like its cousins the jaguars and tigers. The puma has an especially adapted larynx, and the sound they make is more like a whistle. It is the second largest cat in America, after the jaguar; although they may be the same size, they are less bulky and weigh between 24-75 kilos.

The adults show a golden-brown color on the dorsal area and white-cream on the belly area. They usually have between one and four pups, which are born with dark-brown circular spots that serve as camouflage.

They live almost everywhere in the Americas. In Costa Rica, the distribution is scattered throughout the country, being the Corcovado and La Amistad National Parks the most famous places in the southern zone where you can see them.

They are very quiet when hunting; they feed on deer, monkeys, turtles, and porcupines. They are excellent tree climbers and can jump over five vertical meters and 12 horizontal meters. Even though they don’t like being in the water, they can swim. The cougar does not have any natural enemies, other than humans. However, it is considered an endangered species, mainly due to the loss of habitat because of deforestation and indiscriminate hunting.

Remember that preserving our forests and avoiding excessive hunting, we can help the conservation of this species in our country. Costa Rica is the first Latin American country to ban hunting for sport.

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