Natural History

North America’s Top 10 Most Fearsome Predators

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Cougar, aka Mountain Lion
Alan Carey/Corbis

Cougar

Perhaps no creature (outside of organized crime) has more aliases that the cougar. You may know it as puma, mountain lion, panther, or even catamount. (You have always wondered what a catamount is, haven't you?)

This cat is an equal opportunity killer.

Among the many, many animals that have reason to be extremely nervous in the presence of a cougar are deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, domestic cattle, horses and sheep.

And just in case they feel left out, creatures as small as insects and rodents are on the menu as well.

The cougar's modus operandi: stalk-and-ambush.

This big guy can sprint like a champion, but chooses instead to creep through cover of brush or trees, then deliver a sudden, shocking and powerful leap onto its target, killing quickly with a suffocating neck bite.

Not too surprisingly, other than humans no animal preys on an adult cougar.

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