The panther has a head and face like a cat, its legs are short and the paws are armed with sharp claws. It is a beast of prey of uncommon strength...Deer it is able to catch at will...It is not known that a panther has ever done the Indians injury without provocation...He must never turn his back upon the panther, thinking that he can escape.
David Zeisberger's History of North American Indians, 1779-80.
|Scientific Name:||Puma concolor|
|Habitat:||Forests and mountainous areas|
|Adult Weight:||100 - 200 lbs.|
|Adult Body Length:||5 feet (tail length: 2- 3 feet)|
|Birth Period:||late winter - early spring (no definite season)|
|Litters Per Year:||1|
|Litter Size:||1 - 5|
|Life Expectancy:||10 - 20 years|
|Foods:||Deer and Elk. When there is a shortage of large prey, will feed on small prey, even skunks and porcupines.|
The cougar is known by many different names depending on the region that they are found. These names include Mountain Lion, Puma, Panther, Paint, Screamer and Catamount. In Ohio, the term "Panther" is found commonly in historic documents. However, the name can sometimes be confusing. Panther has also been used to describe the Bobcat, another Ohio predator.
The male Cougar may hunt only once every two weeks, while the female, if she has cubs, will eat a deer every three days. After killing its prey, the Cougar will eat what it wants, then cover the rest with leaves and debris so that it can return to feed on the carcass for the next several days.
Before settlement, the Cougar's range extended from southern Canada to the southern part of South America.
The Cougar was the feared by both American Indians and settlers.
Hunting, trapping, changes in land use, as well as a bounty of $3 - 4 on Cougar skins, were all factors in the extirpation of the Cougar in Ohio by 1838.
The last Cougar in the northeastern United States was reported in 1805 (1850).
Today, the Cougar lives mainly in western Canada, California and New Mexico, Mexico, Central and South America. Small numbers also live in southeastern Canada and New England then southward through the Appalachian Mountains and small areas of Florida. They are still feared by ranchers although they seldom kill livestock or domestic animals.
The status of Cougars depends on the area in which they live. Cougars in the western United States are increasing in population. There are even hunting seasons on Cougars in western states such as Idaho. On the other hand, the Florida Panther is on the Endangered Species List with only 30 to 50 remaining in the wild due to loss of habitat. The Eastern Cougar is also on the Endangered Species List.
- Hulbert, Archer B., and Schwarze, William N., eds. David Zeisberger's History of the North American Indians. Columbus, OH: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1910.