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Old 01-12-2012, 11:57 AM   #7
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Standing in a stream waving a stick
Posts: 1,009
Originally Posted by Eastern Puma View Post
Cougars don't need rock dens for their kittens. A "den" could be under the roots of a large tree or simply in a tangle of bushes. In Florida, a panther den is often a dense growth of palmettos. Mother cougars often move their kittens to new "dens." As gulo says, panthers need suitable prey (probably large deer-sized prey to successfully rear kittens) and habitat that provides cover for stalking, resting and protecting young kittens.
Before I posted this thread I looked into all your points.

Florida has very dense year round vegetation. It also is rife with sinkholes and perhaps the most concentrated region of Karst topography in the US. Whether they are flooded with water or not I do not know. While Florida has reptilian predators I would not see them as equal threats to northern mammalian predators and raptors. In the northeast ground cover is sparse in late winter and early spring. The best den sites may still be occupied by bears. Although not confirmed it is speculated that a cougar will not use a den site recently occupied by bears.

The kittens are immobile for 4-6 weeks and the mother needs a secure den site during that period but after the kittens are mobile and the mother takes them with her they are more apt to have left the den site for good and in turn use "day sites" which could be a log, roots, heavy vegetation.

In many areas especially in the northern part of there range cougar do in fact prey on moose. In Alberta's Elk Island Park moose constitute up to 69% of the kills and 95% of the biomass.
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