This photo from Keith Foster shows an adult puma with spots.
This photo from Ben Wllis shows another adult puma with spots.
When puma kittens are born their coats have prominent dark spots and they have blue eyes.
They also have stripes on the legs which can clearly be seen in this kitten. In some cases the stripes are found in adult animals (Peter Jackson in Novell & Jackson, 1993).
After a short time the eyes lose their blue colour and the spots and stripes dissapear. The adult puma's coat is uniform, except for dark spots on each side of the muzzle and dark hairs at the tip of the tail. The adult puma's lack of spots or stripes gives the animal its Latin name of Puma concolor, although the colouring the the coat is extremely variable from light throught to very dark.
Although there are often reports of black pumas and occasionally a white puma, the spotted adult puma is the only one which we are aware of.
I took the spotted cougar photo from a group of photos of this
cat. The photos were taken in the Big Cypress of Florida. Cougars are
sometimes spotted to greater or lesser degree of color values. Not
very unusual, but unusually visible in the specimen in the photo
The spots showed up better on this particular speciman because of the
light background coloration to its pelage. Normal coloration of coryi
more of the spectral value of the spots on this specimen rather than
lighter colored areas. Also note the odd crook in the last few inches
the tail, which is a genetic abberation of bent distal caudal tail
vertebrate which is a trademark of coryi from the Big Cypress
This crook in the tail tip is visible externally in almost all Big
area specimens and useful in identification of that areas puma, though
does exist very rarely in other locations of puma populations.The tail
coryi is still carried usually much lower than in the leopard, which
their tail more uniformly and usually higher above the ground level.
also have a cowlick on the back and on the neck that differ from other
subspecies usually. Another trait of coryi pelage is the incidence of
small spots of white hairs throughout the pelage that increases with
and is thought to be the result of tick bites and not genetics Cougars, in spite of the moniker "concolor",
quite variable in coloration. I have even heard of some that are
similar to a brindled dog, but have no photos of a brindled cougar yet.
Boorer,M. (1969) Wild Cats. Hamlyn, London.
Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. (Eds) (1993) Wild Cats. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
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