Coeur dAlene Name: s'wa'

Common Name: Cougar, Puma, Mountain lion, Panther, Catamount

Latin Name: Puma concolor

Description: Also known as cougar, mountain lion, panther, and catamount, its variety of names reflecting its hold on the public imagination, even though this secretive cat is ever seldom by most people. The most widespread land mammals in the western hemisphere, living in habitats from forests to swamps to dry brushlands. It now extinct in eastern North America except for the endangered subspecies (Florida panther) in the everglades.

The home range of a male puma may be well over 100 square miles in extent, and although a males range will overlap with those of several females he will not tolerate another male in his territory pumas are solitary for most of the year forming pairs only briefly in the mating season. Females care for the young alone, usually giving birth to three young in a den among rocks or in dense thickets. Young are born spotted and have blue eyes until about three months of age. They are taught to hunt by their mothers until they leave home at one and a half to two years of age.

Pumas hunt mostly at night and feed mainly on hoofed mammals such as deer, although they will also take partially any animal their own size or smaller. Pumas are generally good for the health of deer populations, as they tend to prey on the easiest prey, thus thinning the herd of its weakest members. Until the 1960s, government bounties were still paid for dead pumas, but fortunately public attitudes towards these superb cats are improving.

Large, long tailed, and uniformly tan to grey-brown or reddish brown with dark markings on the face and tail tip. The head appears proportionately small for the body, and the tail is held low when walking. Eyes are brown or golden in adults. Usually quiet hisses, growls, purrs, whistles, and screams, especially in matting season (Bowers 2004: 136).

Citation: Bowers, Norma, Rick Bowers, and Kenn Kaufman
2004 Mammals of North America. Kaufman Focus Guides. New York: Houghton
Mifflin Company


Hunting: Quivers were made of entire skins of otter, fisher, cougar, coyote, wolf, deer, and occasionally other animals. The first three were most in use. No quivers woven of bark were in use, and none of leather and rawhide. No caps or covers were used on quivers. No double or divided quivers, like those of some eastern tribes. Many Coeur d’Alene quivers had a pocket or narrow compartment for holding the fire drill, as among the Thompson (Teit 1996: 65).

Teit, James
1996 Coeur d’Alene, Flathead and Okanogan Indians. Ed. Franz Boas. Fairfield,
Washington: Ye Galleon Press. Reprinted from: The Salishan Tribes of the
Western Plateaus. Forty-fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of American
Ethnology 1927-1928, United States Government Printing Office, Washington
D.C.: 1930

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Coeur d'Alene Tribe HQ | p. 208.686.1800 | 850 A. Street Plummer ID 83851