Although cougars are bigger than some “big cats”, they are considered a small cat due to their ability to purr and not roar.  Cougars have over 70 different names and have the largest range of any wild land animal in the Americas.


Cougars in the wild live between 10 and 12 years.  In captivity, they can live up to 25 years.

Shape & Size

Adult cougars are generally 6-7 feet long including their tails which are typically 2/3 the length of their bodies.  Adult females average 85-105 pounds and adult males 140-170 pounds but can be up to 200 lbs. 

Color Pattern

Cougars come in a range of colors from buff to brown to gray.  Cougars have a white underbelly and typically the tip of their tail is darker than the rest of their bodies.


Cougars are solitary animals, only coming together to mate.  Cougars are ambush predators, and will typically only pursue their prey for a short distance, succeeding approximately 20% of the time.  Females will often "scream" when they are in heat to let males in the area know.  This is how they got one of their many names, "Mountain Screamer".


Cougars are very adaptable and can live in areas that range from tropical rainforests or conifer forests to high mountains and even the desert.

Principal Threats

People are cougars' number one threat.  People have driven cougars out of the eastern part of the United States due to hunting and urbanization.  Cougars no longer reside east of the Mississippi River except for a small pocket in Florida, known as the Florida Panther.

Puma concolor

Range Map


Cougars have the largest range of any wild land animal in the Americas. They live as far north as Canada and as far south as Argentina. Cougars were once prevalent in the eastern part of the United States but have been driven out west of the Mississippi River. They are no longer found on the east coast except for a small population in the Florida Everglades called the Florida Panther.


The cougars' #1 prey item is ungulates; deer and elk.  But they also eat small mammals, including beavers, rabbits, mice, and birds like turkey.  Occasionally, when husbandry practices need improvement, they will prey on livestock, including goats, sheep, and chicken. 

Reproductive Habits

Cougars have an average gestation period of 92 days and have one to six kittens per litter but the average is two or three kittens.  The kittens are born with spots that disappear as they get older, and they begin to eat solid food around 6 to 7 weeks of age.


Cougars hunt primarily at dusk and dawn but it is not unusual for them to be active any time of day.  Cougars have an increased level of cones in their eyes, which allows them to see in near darkness. These cones also give the signature green eyes.


Cougars are listed as “Endangered” in the Endangered Species Act but this refers only to a couple of the subspecies including the Costa Rican Puma, Eastern Puma, and Florida Panther.  The major threat to cougars is habitat loss.  They have been driven to local extinction east of the Mississippi due to habitat loss.

Fun Facts

  • Cougars have over 70 different names
  • Cougars have large hind legs that help propel them into the air - they have larger hind legs than front legs
  • Cougars are able to jump up to 15 feet in the air and 40 feet horizontally
  • Cougars have a large, thick tail that can be used as a rudder to change direction midair when they are jumping after prey

About Carolina Tiger Rescue

Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

1940 Hanks Chapel Rd. Pittsboro, NC 27312 (919) 542-4684 (919) 542-4454

Wildlife should be in the Wild



  • We believe the ideal home for wildlife is in the wild.
  • We believe it is critical to conserve their native habitats.
  • We believe wild animals should not be kept as pets.
  • We believe captive breeding should ONLY be done in accordance with Species Survival plans.
  • We believe all wild animals, both captive and in their native habitats, deserve to be treated with respect and not exploited for entertainment and commercial purposes.

Visit Carolina Tiger Rescue

Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Public Tours

Twilight Tours

Coming out for a tour is a great way to learn more about the animals that call Carolina Tiger Recue home. We offer many different types of tours.  Public tours are great for adults and families. Twilight tours are for adults only (18 years of age and older). Tiger Tales are a perfect option if you want to bring out really young children. Find the tour that is right for you and enjoy a walk through the sanctuary.

For all tours, tickets must be purchased in advance.

Have Fun Learning at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Field Trips

Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips link

Virtual Field Trips

Education is key to our mission.  We enjoy teaching "kids" of all ages!  Our field trips, both virtual and onsite, are ideal for groups of kids.  Our "Kid for a Day" Adult Camp provides a unique learning opportunity while allowing adults to channel their inner child.  While all of these opportunities are structured differently, in the end we want everyone to walk away knowing more about the animals we care for and what they can do to help protect them.

Our Rescues
Bobcat at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Caracal at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Coatimundi at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Cougar at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Kinkajou at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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In Memoriam
Leopard at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Lion at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Ocelot at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Serval at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Keeper Stripes

Get involved at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual Volunteering

Group volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Group Volunteering

There are so many ways to be a part of Carolina  Tiger Rescue.  Individual volunteers are able to help in many aspects of our work, including animal care, tour guides, construction, and gift shop assistance.  Work groups come from community groups, colleges, work places, and more!  It’s a great way to spend a day and it helps care for the cats.