Wildwood Zoo

Meet the Cougars at Wildwood Zoo

Star       Thunder

Meet Star and Thunder!

Star and Thunder are cougar sibilings that joined Wildwood Zoo in the fall of 2008.  They were born May 1, 2008 at Maple Lane Wildlife Farm in Indiana.  They are very active and love to play, wrestle, and watch the geese at the zoo.

Cougar's front feet are larger than their back feet to aid in capturing and killing prey.  Their long back legs are helpful for jumping; they can leap 18 feet off the ground and can bound 40 feet horizontally.  Mountain lions can run as fast as 35-45 mph, but are best adapted for short, powerful sprints rather than long chases.  Their long tail helps with balance and has a black tip which is a very distinguishing feature.  In Wisconsin in recent years, there have been several confirmed sightings of Mountain lions.  Furthermore, they are the largest cat species that can purr (they are classified as small cats because they cannot roar).  They can make many other sounds including chirps, hisses, growls, and screams.  Adult males can weigh anywhere from 115-160 pounds and adult females can weigh anywhere from 75-105 pounds.  Their head to body length can vary between 3.25-5.25 feet and their tail measures between 2 and 3 feet long.  The Mountain lion holds the Guinness World record for the animal with the highest number of common names, probably because it occurs from northern Yukon to the tip of South America.  It has over 40 names in English alone including mountain lion, cougar, puma, panther, catamount, and painter.

Mountain lions are historically the widest ranging land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, aside from humans. A habitat generalist and highly-adaptive, the Mountain lion once roamed the entire expanse of the contiguous forty-eight United States.  Today, their populations are officially recognized by state Game and Fish Departments in seventeen states: Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida (as subspecies Puma concolor coryii), North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Mountain lions inhabit most terrestrial habitats from deserts to humid coast range forest, from sea level to 10,000-foot elevations. They live where there is abundant prey and stalking cover available.

Mountain lions require a lot of room—only a few cats can survive in a 30-square-mile range. They are solitary and shy animals, seldom seen by humans. While they do occasionally attack people—usually children or solitary adults—statistics show that, on average, there are only four attacks and one human fatality each year in all of the U.S. and Canada.

No set breeding season.  Females have a litter of 1-6 kittens every 2-3 years (with a three month gestation period).  The survival rate is only one kitten per litter. Only the female rears the young.  The young will stay with their mother for 1-2 years.

Life Expectancy
In the wild: 8 – 10 years
Under Human Care: 20 years

Natural Diet
Mountain lions eat large mammals such as deer, and smaller mammals such as mice, squirrels, porcupines, raccoons, rabbits, and beavers.

Mountain Lion Range in North America
 map mountain lion
For more information, please visit the Mountain Lion Foundation.