Coopers Rock Mountain Lion Sanctuary in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, in February 2006
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, are the fourth-largest cat species. They are about 30 inches tall and 8 feet long.
Males weigh an average of 125lb and females 100lb.
Their powerful hind legs allow them to jump up to 30 feet horizontally from stand-still and reach speeds of up to 50mph.
Despite its fearsome size, the cougar is not typically classed as a ‘big cat’ as it is unable to roar. Instead, they scare away potential threats with low-pitched growls and hisses.
Their high-pitched screams are well known to hunters and are often confused with the cries of other humans.
Cougars are found across the western United States and Canada, although they shy and rarely seen by humans in the wild.
At least 20 people in North America were killed by cougars between 1890 and 2011, although the animals are usually afraid of humans.
Anyone who encounters a cougar in the wild is encouraged to stand tall, stay still and refrain from running away until the animal goes away.