Cougars, scientifically known as Puma concolor, can also be called a puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on where you are geographically. In fact, the cougar holds the Guinness Book record for the animal with the most names, with more than 40 English variations. Regardless of whether you call it a mountain lion or cougar, the babies are referred to as cubs.
The female cougar reaches sexual maturity between 1 1/2 to 3 years of age. She will have a litter of cubs on average every two to three years during her reproductive years. Baby cougars are born after about 91 days of gestation. Litter size can range between one to six cubs; the average litter yields two to three cubs.
Cougar cubs are born in a den. The den is chosen by the mother before birth and is usually located in a cave, alcove or a surrounding of bushes or rocks that will help offer the cubs protection from predators. The mother cub uses brush from grass, leaves and other foliage to cover the ground so the cubs have bedding.
Cougar cubs do not hunt when they are first born. In fact, cougar cubs are blind and completely dependent upon their mother. For the first six weeks of life, baby cougars drink only their mother's milk. After that, their mother will begin weaning them by bringing meat she has killed for them. At six months of age, cougar babies are brought along with their mother when she is out hunting for food. This teaches them how to hunt for food safely on their own.
At birth, cougar cubs weigh about 1 lb. each. Cubs are born with a full coat of fur. Initially, the fur is a tawny color with black spots on the body and bars on the tail. The spots on the fur act as camouflage to hide them from predators. The spots begin to disappear when the cubs reach 2 months of age. By 2 1/2 years of age the cubs will have no spots. Cougar cubs eyes do not open until they are between 5 to 19 days old. At first their eyes are blue; by 5 months of age they turn brown.