What you should know about the Chilean Puma

Also called the “guardian of the Andes”, the puma can be found throughout Chile, from the region of Arica and Parinacota, to Patagonia. With its mysterious charisma it is revered by native cultures all over America.

In Mapudungun (Mapuche language) the puma is known as “pangui” or “trapial”, being one of the most sacred animals of the Mapuche along with the condor and the Eagle.

Visitors to Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia are often very interested in seeing a puma in its natural habitat. Experienced guides know where and when you are most likely to be lucky enough to see pumas.

There are some interesting facts about the Chilean Puma we would like to share with you:

  1. The puma is the fourth largest cat in the world, after the lion, tiger and jaguar. Although it is the largest in Chile, on a global level it is considered a small sized cat. Male pumas can weigh anywhere from 68 up to 100 kilos, while females tend to weigh over 45 kilos. Length-wise, they can measure between 1.5 to 2.7 meters long, from the head to the end of the tail.
  2. The puma is one of the most extensive species on the continent, inhabiting mostly mountainous zones, from Canada all the way down to Magallanes. This type of geography, such as is found in the Torres del Paine National Park, is perfect for pumas as it provides them shelter between rocks and boulders to hide behind while hunting.
  3. Unlike other felines, such as the lion or the tiger, the puma does not roar, but purrs similarly to a normal domestic cat.
  4. The puma’s fur has a reddish-grey tone with lighter areas on the lower body and a black tip on the tail. This appearance works to its advantage when stalking its prey stealthily. The puma’s camouflage colour allows it to blend in with the rocks and shrubs in the Patagonian pampas.
  5. Unlike other big cats, the puma has a slim body, similar to a domestic cat, but on a much larger scale. In fact, in colloquial terms, the Patagonians refer to pumas as gatos (cats in Spanish).

Interested in wildlife watching and tours in Torres del Paine National Park? Please contact your Turavion Travel Consultant.