Difference Between Cougar and Mountain Lion

Cougar vs Mountain Lion

Cougar and mountain lion could be confusing, especially in referring to them. Therefore, a proper understanding is necessary about these names and the differences between them would be important to be aware of if there are any. This article intends to discuss the cougar in detail as both these names are referred to one particular species of felid living in the American continents.


Cougar, Puma concolor, aka Puma is a native cat to South and North America and live in mountains more often than not. There are six subspecies varying according to the geographical ranges, and South America has five of those. Cougars are the fourth largest feline, and they are agile with a slender body. An average adult male is about 75 centimetres tall and measures about 2.75 metres between the nose and the base of the tail. Their whole weight body could range between 50 and 100 kilograms. A size analysis with the latitude suggests that cougars are larger towards the temperate regions and smaller towards the equator. Colouration of cougars is simple with almost uniform distribution of the yellowish-brown colour coat, but the belly is whiter with little darker patches. In addition, the coat could sometimes be either silvery-greyish or reddish without complex stripes. However, the cubs and the adolescents vary in their colouration with spots, as well. There has not been any documented record about sighting a black cougar in the literature. The interesting fact about cougar is that they do not have a larynx and hyoid structures to roar like lions, panthers, or jaguars. However, they could produce low-pitched hisses, purrs, growls, whistles, and chirps. Since they cannot roar, cougars do not fall under big cat category. Cougars have the largest hind paw among all the members of the Family: Felidae. Despite the categorization as a non-big-cat, cougars are the predators of almost the same animals, as the big cats prefer.

Mountain Lion

Since this is the same species as described in the above passage, the term mountain lion is more popular among people, especially in the North America. However, the name puma is more popular in South America. That means, the subspecies Puma concolor cougar is more popular as the mountain lion, but all other subspecies inhabited in South America are more commonly referred as puma.


Cougar and mountain lion are two names for only one species, but referred differently according to the people of North and South America. In addition, the name cougar is being used in both these continents, but mountain lion is more common in North America.