What do cougars eat?

In this brief article we will provide an answer to the query,” What do cougars eat?” We will look at the types of prey cougars prefer. We will also discuss what baby cougars feed on, how cougars kill their prey and if cougars eat plants.

What do cougars eat?

Cougars are carnivores and mainly eat grazing animals such as deers and smaller animals like racoons, coyotes and porcupines. They mainly consume protein rich meat and compete with other animals in the wild such as wolves and bears for food.

What type of prey do cougars prefer?

Cougars prefer these types of prey:

Small Animals

Cougars prey and feed on small animals like porcupines, hares, rabbits and small rodents when there is a scarcity of big prey. In particular, young cougars feed on small animals as they are much easier to spot around and kill and they do not have sophisticated hunting skills.

Different seasons tend to have animals in different no.s and depending on that cougars adapt and tend to change their diet to what’s available. For example during summer it’s easier to find rabbits roaming around. 



As much as cougars prefer hunting down their prey and making a fresh kill, sometimes they cannot find animals to hunt down and they have to feed on carrions. Cougars will at times also steal carrions from other animals that have preyed on them.


If there is a scarcity in big and small animals, cougars will also eat insects so as not to starve. Insects are a good source of protein to cougars and the

Cougars do not discount insects. If most of the big and small animals are not in abundance and available for cougars to hunt down to avoid starvation they will switch to insects as a good source of protein . They usually consume insects such as  grasshoppers, crickets, or any readily available insects that they can catch and eat.


Cougars also require water for survival just like other living beings. However, cougars do not require a lot of water and can actually go several days without drinking any water. They only require to drink water once in a while because the preys they feed on do not have enough water to satiate them.

What do baby cougars feed on?

When baby cougars are born they are deaf and blind and therefore solely rely on their mother for food and their survival. They usually suckle their mother for milk for about 7 to 8 weeks. 

Once they get to about 7-8 weeks, the mothers usually take the cubs for hunting escapades and they get to eat the kill. At the age of about 4 to 6 months the cubs are fully weaned and they reach the stage of adulthood when they are 3 to 5 years old when they can start hunting down for prey on their own.

How do cougars kill their prey?

Cougars mostly hunt at night or very early in the morning and they terminate their prey by quickly leaping in their backs using their legs and snapping or biting into their necks.

They make use of their sharp canine teeth to cut through the flesh and crush the prey’s spinal cord by dismantling it.

When hunting down big prey, cougars usually stalk them until they are near and then quickly leap on them and attack. They then attack and drag their prey to a safe place where they can relish and eat them.

They have a rough tongue and teeth that assist in removal of fur from the animal, dismantle it to pieces and enjoy their inner organs. Cougars usually get their Vit A from the inner organs of their prey which are nutritious and it’s believed it’s the reason why they eat the innards first.

Do cougars feed on plants?

No, cougars are carnivores and their digestive systems cannot digest plants properly. However there have been some instances where cougars have been seen eating grass for unknown reasons.

Speculation is that they eat grass so that they can derive Folic acid from it as it is difficult to obtain from a meat based diet. Some other people say they eat grass because of its texture while others say it helps keep parasites from their guts.


In this brief article we have answered the query,” What do cougars eat?” We have looked at the types of prey cougars prefer. We have also discussed what baby cougars feed on, how cougars kill their prey and if cougars eat plants.


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