Wikipedia:Today's featured article/June 11, 2007

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A Cougar

The cougar is a mammal of the Felidae family, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any terrestrial mammal other than humans in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the Cougar is found in every major New World habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the New World, after the Jaguar, and the fourth heaviest in the world, after the Tiger, Lion, and Jaguar, although it is most closely related to smaller felines. A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the Cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Its primary food is ungulates such as deer, particularly in the northern part of its range, but it hunts species as small as insects and rodents. It prefers habitats with dense underbrush for stalking, but it can live in open areas. The Cougar is territorial and persists at low population densities, with individual territory sizes dependent on terrain, vegetation, and prey abundance. While a large predator, it is not always the dominant species in its range, competing with other animals such as the Gray Wolf for prey. It is a reclusive cat and usually avoids people. Attacks on humans remain rare, despite a recent increase in frequency. (more...)

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