Cougars (Puma concolor) Killed by North American Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum)

L. Mark Elbroch, Rafael Hoogesteijn, Howard Quigley


Predation is inherently risky, and Cougars (Puma concolor) are occasionally injured while hunting prey. Between 2001 and 2015, we documented the cause of death of 59 Cougars (22 subadults and 37 adults) in the Southern Yellowstone Ecosystem, Wyoming. Here we report on 2 animals (9% of subadult mortalities) killed as a result of complications after hunting North American Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum). We also report an observation of a Cougar killed in Venezuela by quills of a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine (Coendou prehensilis). Porcupines may kill and wound more Cougars than previously suspected and may be an important cause of mortality, at least for subadult animals.


Cougar; Puma; Puma concolor; North American Porcupine; Erethizon dorsatum; fitness consequences; mortality; predation

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