Sport hunters, who obviously have had first-hand experiences in chasing pumas, say that this athletic wild cat has an amazing ability to leap 20 feet straight up a cliff and when chased by dogs the puma can make downhill leaps 30 and 40 feet long. That’s what they say. In California the puma has been seen leaping boulders and dodging clumps of vegetation while chasing jackrabbits.
The puma has a relatively long spinal column. This allows for an increased lumbar flexion while running which is a characteristic that it shares with the cheetah. We know how quick the cheetah is.
The Puma has powerful hind legs allowing the animal to attain high speeds in short distances. One puma was recorded overtaking and killing a javelina in a 200 meter chase. Javelinas can run at 35 miles an hour. My guess is that the puma can run up to 50 miles an hour as a maximum in very short bursts.
Some people ask whether the puma can jump a six-foot high wire fence. The only information that I have on that is from one account (visual recording) which ‘describes a female puma sitting near her kill, leaping over a two meter high mesquite bush and catching a vulture in midair as it was about to land on the shrub’ (Wild Cats of the World). Two meters is 6.5 feet. Therefore the answer to the question is probably yes under the correct circumstances and depending upon the individual animal.
One website says that pumas have been seen to leap 20 feet horizontally and 18 feet vertically. My impression is that the puma is the greatest jumper of all the cats on the planet.
Various and all via Wild Cats of the World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist. The quote is theirs.
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