Other than man, the large, slender cougar (Puma concolor), also called the mountain lion, catamount, puma, or even panther, has the greatest natural distribution of any terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. The mountain lion is powerfully built and extremely agile. These cats are characterised by a long body with unusually long hindlimbs, thought to be an adaptation to bursts of high-speed running and jumping, used to chase and ambush prey. The cat has a long neck, a small, broad head, short, rounded ears that are black on the back, and a long, cylindrical tail with a black tip. The coat is of uniform colour, hence the Latin name, concolor, varying from silvery-grey through tawny-yellow to light reddish brown. The throat, chest and belly are a pale buff to whitish colour and the sides of the muzzle are framed in black. Faint horizontal stripes may occasionally be seen on the upper forelegs, and melanism has been widely reported though not confirmed. Young kittens are spotted, with blue eyes. Males rarely weigh more than 100 kilograms, and depending on sex and age, tend to be larger in the north of their range, and the coat is generally longer to insulate against extreme temperatures. The mountain lion holds the record for the mammal with the most common names, with over 40 known names in English alone. A widespread species, the mountain lion can be found in many diverse habitats, including deserts, rainforests and mountains. Mountain lions produce a variety of vocalisations, but cannot roar.
- North American Cougar (Puma concolor couguar)
- South American Cougar (Puma concolor concolor)
- Eastern South American Cougar (Puma concolor anthonyi)
- Costa Rican Cougar (Puma concolor costaricensis)
- Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi)
- Southern South American Cougar (Puma concolor puma)