Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cougar Picture Showing Athletic Body

The cougar is a very athletic animal.  Although for the larger wildcats it is lightly built, the puma is a match for the leopard with respect to strength. Pumas like to bury prey and they can carry/drag their kills good distances and sometimes into trees.

It is on record that a puma in Arizona dragged a horse weighing 800 to 900 pounds 25-30 feet in the snow.
Cougar - Photo copyright Anthony Gurr on Flickr

The excellent photograph above shows the puma's unusually long hind legs. It also shows the musculature nicely. The body is taught. The long hind legs are believed to be an adaptation for jumping. The puma has a long spinal column and increased lumbar flexion while running like the cheetah.

Examples of the jumping skills and running of the puma are as follows:
  1. A female, from sitting near her kill, jumped over a 2 meter (6 feet 6 inches) mesquite bush catching a vulture in mid air as it was about to land.
  2. The ability to put in bursts of high speed running over several hundred yards over desert terrain.
  3. The ability, on occasion, to catch the pronghorn, which is the fastest land animal in the western hemisphere and second only to the cheetah in top speed.  The pronghorn can each speeds up to 62 mph it is said by some sources.
  4. The ability to jump 20 feet straight up a cliff or downhill leaps of of 30-40 feet.
Source: Wild Cats Of The World ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7.

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