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Its powerful forequarters, neck, and jaw serve to grasp and hold large prey.
It has five retractable claws on its forepaws (one a dewclaw) and four on its hind paws.
Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the ongoing human development of cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range.
In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for an isolated Florida panther subpopulation.
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.
People in rural regions often refer to both the cougar and the jaguar as simply gata (she-cat), and outside of the Amazon, both are colloquially referred to as simply onça by many people (that is also a name for the leopard in Angola).
Cuguacu ara was then adopted by English naturalist John Ray in 1693.Currently, it is referred to as "puma" by most scientists "Puma" is the common name in Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries but the cat has many local or regional names in the United States and Canada, of which cougar, puma, mountain lion, and panther are popular.Other names include catamount (probably a contraction from "cat of the mountain"), mountain screamer, and painter.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. Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have recently been increasing in North America as more people enter their territories.
Primary food sources are ungulates, particularly deer, but also livestock.