Cougars are highly adaptable animals, and can live in a variety of
environments ranging from
swamps to forests and mountains. Only a bit smaller than the jaguar, the cougar is the second
largest cat in the Americas. Lithe and low-slung, the cougar looks as if a small-cat head was
placed on a big-cat body. The average weight for males is 160 pounds, while females average
90-135 pounds. Its coat varies from tan to dark brown, and its underparts are often white. A
long, thick tail provides balance during leaps and climbs.
Like all big cats, the cougar is a symbol of leadership. In some
Native American tribes, it
is a totem symbolizing balanced leadership. One source describes a cougar totem that is
associated with a controlled use of power; the ability to successfully lead without force.
Cougar totems were described as avoiding abuse of power; to be nurturing as a mother with
kittens while also powerful as an adult on the hunt.