Cougar cubs lead precarious lives. Other predators – even male cougars — prey on them. They can also become sick or get injured. But perhaps the worst thing that can happen is losing their mom.
Most young adult cougars head out on their own when they’re 18-months to two-years old. By that time they have rudimentary hunting skills and are usually large enough to take down prey on their own. Even then some young cougars don’t survive.
But if mom is shot by a hunter, hit by a car or killed taking down prey when her cubs are younger than 18-months old, their chances of survival decrease dramatically.
Cougars are secretive carnivores so much about their day-to-day lives and relationships with each other remains unknown. So it was a real surprise when researchers with Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project in Jackson Hole, Wyoming discovered a female cougar with young of her own had adopted three orphaned cubs.
Cougars are exquisitely built killing machines capable of taking down an animal seven times their size. But this strength can’t be fully appreciated unless witnessed.
A 2001video taken in New Mexico shows a 70-kilogram (150-pound) cougar tackling a 120-kilogrom (265-pound) mule deer.
The strength of the cougar as it takes down this deer is incredible. Even being kicked repeatedly in the head by sharp hooves does not persuade the cat to let go. And when its initial attempts to kill the deer don’t work, the cougar employs a new strategy.
Don’t forget to watch the tip of the cougar’s tail.