The new research suggests pumas are not actually solitary
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Researchers used to regard pumas as solitary predators, assuming they behaved less socially than other felines. However, a recent study found evidence to prove them wrong. They managed to identify a series of highly social behaviors among these creatures, showing that mountain lions interact way more than everybody ever thought.
Researchers thought pumas were solitary
Previously, researchers thought the only times when pumas interacted was during mating periods, when they needed to raise their cubs, and if they had to fight for their territory. However, after studying a group of felines living in the northwestern part of Wyoming, they discovered the animals are more social than they thought.
With the help of advanced cameras which record motion and GPS trackers, researchers discovered how pumas share food. There was no plausible explanation of this behavior from an environmental point of view, so the other remaining conclusion was that it had a social purpose. The study managed to prove a 60-year-old theory wrong.
Pumas are actually highly social beings
This theory suggested that pumas never hunt together, and go search for their prey on their own. However, the new observations showed how, once every 12 days, they gathered and looked for food. In fact, the animals had quite a complex feeding network. They actually fed together, forming pairs which shared meals and repeated the behavior several times.
Also, these pairs didn’t form randomly. They didn’t necessarily eat together with another ‘family’ member, but they showed an incredible ability to remember their partners. Therefore, they often chose the same specimen and shared their meals with them several times. This is a behavior typical for social animals.
Researchers observed some other interesting events as well. Male pumas usually received more food than females, but females benefited from these social interactions in a different way. They might have it harder to get food, but get plenty of opportunities to find partners for mating. The study has been published in the journal Science Advances.
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