Cougar Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

You are camping with your family in the mountains and your campsite has a sign that says ~'Cougar Crossing.~' What are cougars? Why do they live in the mountains? Keep reading to learn more about this wild animal.

What is a Cougar?

The cougar is a member of the feline family. Felines are cats, so housecats are also felines. There are lots of types of felines - tigers, cheetahs, leopards and lions are also felines - and most live in the wild. Cougars are wildcats, meaning they also live in the wild.

Cougars can also be called mountain lions, catamounts, or pumas. That is a lot of names for one animal.

Cougars can grow up to 9 feet long from head to tail. That's about 2 feet taller than a tall basketball player! They have short fur that can be lots of different colors, including tan and dark brown. Cougars can run up to 50 miles per hour, which is as fast as a car is driven on some highways.

Where Do Cougars Live?

Cougars live in lots of different places, including North America, Central America, and South America. They can live in forests, deserts, or mountains. Cougars used to live all over the United States, but now they mainly live in the western states and Florida. They have the widest range of any land mammal in the western half of the world. Range means the area that they live, so a wide range means that cougars are comfortable living in lots of different places.

What Do Cougars Eat?

Cougars are carnivores. This means that they eat meat, not plants. Cougars are good hunters and use their strong jaws to catch their food. Cougars eat lots of animals, including deer, elk, and rabbits. Cougars don't have very good eyesight, but they have a great sense of smell that helps them sniff out their food. Cougars usually hunt in the early morning and in the evening. Cougars sometimes hide their food near their homes under leaves or soil and come back to snack on their food several days later.

Cougars use their strong muscles to pounce on their prey.
hunting cougar

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