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"Cougar" may be borrowed from the archaic Portuguese çuçuarana; the term was originally derived from the Tupi language susua'rana, meaning "similar to deer (in hair color)". It may also be borrowed from the Guaraní language term guaçu ara or guazu ara.Less common Portuguese terms are onça-parda (brown onça, in distinction of the black-spotted [yellow] one, onça-pintada, the jaguar) or leão-baio (lit.Adult males are around 2.4 m (7.9 ft) long from nose to tail tip, and females average 2.05 m (6.7 ft), with overall ranges between 1.5 to 2.75 m (4.9 to 9.0 ft) nose to tail suggested for the species in general.On average, adult male cougars in British Columbia weigh 56.7 kg (125 lb) and adult females 45.4 kg (100 lb), though several male cougars in British Columbia weighed between 86.4 and 95.5 kg (190 to 210 lb).Other names include catamount (probably a contraction from "cat of the mountain"), mountain screamer, and painter.Lexicographers regard painter as a primarily upper-Southern US regional variant on panther.An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types.
Cougars sometimes voice low-pitched hisses, growls, and purrs, as well as chirps and whistles, many of which are comparable to those of domestic cats.
While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding to the jaguar, gray wolf, American black bear, and grizzly bear. Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have recently been increasing in North America as more people enter their territories.