The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as the mountain lion, puma, panther, mountain cat, or catamount, is a large cat of the family Felidae native to the Americas.
Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere.
An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types. It is the second heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar.
Secretive and largely solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although sightings during daylight hours do occur.
The cougar is more closely related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat (subfamily Felinae), than to any subspecies of lion (subfamily Pantherinae).
An excellent stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources include ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle, horses and sheep, particularly in the northern part of its range.
It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can also live in open areas.
The cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey.
While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding to the jaguar, gray wolf, American black bear, and grizzly bear. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people.
Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have been trending upward in recent years as more people enter their territory.
The Jaguar (Panthera Onca) is the third-largest of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and the only living member native to the western hemisphere.
Growing up to 160 kg (350 lb), Jaguars are distinguished by rosette-emblazoned fur, comparatively short tails and an exceptionally powerful bite that enables them to successfully prey on armored reptiles such as caimans and turtles.
(images via: Fanpop and WWF/Go Wild)
Jaguars are stated to be Near Threatened by the IUCN and while their current range is roughly half of what it once was, these often solitary big cats can still be found from southern Arizona in the United States down to Paraguay and northern Argentina.