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How Cougars are Adapting their Hunting Strategies to Outwit Bears


Cougars, also known as mountain lions, in Yellowstone National Park are adapting their hunting strategies to minimize the chances of their kills being stolen by bears and wolves. This change in behavior involves targeting prey in rugged terrain, where it is more difficult for other predators to access.

Interactions in Yellowstone National Park

In Yellowstone National Park, the habitats of cougars, grey wolves, and grizzly bears overlap. Due to their overlapping territories, competition for food, particularly elk, has increased among these predators.

Cougars’ Deliberate Choice

Cougars seem to have made a deliberate choice to hunt on rugged terrain, away from the more accessible areas frequented by bears and wolves. By doing so, cougars reduce the chances of their hard-earned kills being stolen by other predators.

Stealing Kills

Bears and wolves have been known to steal kills from cougars. This behavior increases during the winter when food is scarce. By adapting their hunting strategies, cougars are attempting to outsmart these competing predators.

The Impact on Cougars and Their Prey

This shift in hunting behavior by cougars may have implications not only for their survival but also for prey populations. Cougars targeting prey in rugged terrain could potentially influence the distribution and behavior of their prey species.

Prey Preferences

Traditionally, cougars prefer to hunt in open areas where they have the advantage of speed and stealth. However, due to the increased competition from bears and wolves, they are now opting for more challenging terrain.

Reduced Competition

By hunting in rugged terrain, cougars are reducing their competition with bears and wolves for the same prey. This could improve their overall hunting success and ensure a greater food supply.


Cougars in Yellowstone National Park are adjusting their hunting strategies to adapt to the presence of competing predators, such as bears and wolves. By targeting prey in rugged terrain, they reduce the risk of losing their kills and improve their chances of survival in a challenging environment.

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: 1. Microevolution: This is the process of small changes in a species over a short period of time, usually within a single generation. 2. Macroevolution: This is the process of large changes in a species over a long period of time, usually spanning multiple generations.

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