Difference Between Puma and Cougar

Puma vs Cougar

Primarily cougar and puma are the names to indicate the same animal, but it could be confusing, in the usage. The main reason for that is the common reference for this animal species varies from place to place. Therefore, a proper understanding is vital about these names and the differences between cougar and puma. This article discusses the characteristics of cougar in summary and attempts to mention the differences from puma.


Cougar, Puma Concolor, is a native wildcat to Americas 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 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.


Puma appears to be the scientific name, as the zoological name starts with the generic name Puma. This name is more popular in South America than in North America because two of the subspecies have common names ending with puma, and their natural distribution range is in the Southern continent of Americas. These subspecies do not have many differences from the others, but the genetic studies have confirmed that there are adequate distinctions to respect them as separate subspecies. However, their body size is slightly larger compared to the subspecies living in the tropical and subtropical regions.


This particular animal species holds the Guinness world record for the maximum number of names for one species, and that means it could cause enough problems to the strangers. In fact, there are 40 different English names and many more names from other languages, and the main cause for this is their wide distribution over two continents and adaptability to different environmental conditions. Mainly these two names are being used to refer this species based on the main continent that they live.


What is the difference between Puma and Cougar?

• Puma is the popular name in South America while cougar is popular in North America and Northern South America.

• Puma is found in the Southern continent while cougar is found in both continents.

• Cougar has four subspecies while puma has only two.

• Pumas are slightly larger than cougars.