Puma family rest in the shade of a bush – Patagonia, Chile 2018

We has anticipated a long hike down to the shores of Lago Sarmiento to find this family of Pumas. To our relief the family has relocated to a shady bush just 100m from the road. We had seen this family on several occasions before but it was always a delight to find this Puma mother (named Sarmiento after the local lake) and her three one-year cubs. The cubs enjoyed a bout of playing before they all headed off for their evening hunt.

The Puma (Puma concolor), is also commonly known as the cougar or mountain lion.  The subspecies in Patagonia is the South American Puma, Puma c. patagonica. Pumas are the fourth largest cat after Tigers, Lions and Jaguars. Adult males are around 2.4m long from nose to tail, and females average 2.0m in length.  Males weigh an average of 80kg but can reach 100kg. Females typically weigh between 29 and 64kg, averaging 50kg.

The breeding season is December to March with a three-month gestation period and a litter size of up to six cubs, although fewer is the norm. The cubs are weaned at around three months and from then on the cubs will gradually start to accompany their mothers. At around 6 months the cubs will hunt for small prey on their own but they will stay with their mothers for about two years.