The Puma of Costa Rica
This secretive cat of the mountainous regions comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but it is most closely related to smaller cats in terms of taxonomy.
Pumas encompass a range from Southern Canada to the tip of Argentina. Pumas inhabit temperate forest, deciduous forest, tropical forest and montane forest. In Costa Rica they can be found in Tenorio and Miravalles Volcano National Park, Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Santa Rosa National Park and at the Sirena Biological Station.
Mating & Reproduction
Pumas generally breed from March to December. They have litters of up to 6 cubs after a three month gestation period. Males are polygamous, and mate multiple times in the breeding season.
Pumas are born blind, and will not open their eyes until after two weeks. The young cubs are born with spots on their coats that help camouflage them from potential threats. Overtime the spots fade. They are able to ingest solid food at around 2 to 3 months, and they leave their mothers after a year.
Pumas lead a solitary existence. They usually patrol a range of around 207 square kilometers, but it becomes much less in winter months in snowy landscapes. Pumas in these areas can be considered somewhat migratory. Pumas are extremely adaptable, which explains their large range of habitats.
This large predator is an obligate carnivore, and must consume meat to survive. In Central America it will take down capybaras, agoutis, pacas, coatis, olingos, raccoons, porcupines, opossums, hares and small reptiles.
Pumas have experienced some displacement as humans encroach on their territory. Despite the loss of its range, the Puma’s ability to adapt to its environment leads most conservationists to believe that the large predatory cat will not disappear completely.
Pumas vary somewhat in size based on their geographic region, and generally males are larger than females.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Tenorio & Miravalles Volcano National Park, Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Santa Rosa National Park, Sirena Biological Station
Diet: capybara, agouti, paca, coati, olingo, raccoon, porcupine, opossum, hare, small reptiles
Migration Pattern: semi-migratory in snowy mountainous ranges
Habitat: temperate forest, deciduous forest, tropical forest, montane forest
Size: length=60-90 cm weight=29-100 kg tail=63-95 cm (females are smaller than males)
Species: Puma concolor, Felis concolor