Identifying Puma Gender by Genital Spots

How do you identify the gender of a puma? This is one of those cases where I realize how little I know and how little experience I have in regards to Mountain Lions. I am sure an experienced puma biologists could look at the picture below and say, duh, that’s a male, or duh, that’s a female…well even after doing some more research I once again have no clue.

Mountain Lion Rear View

Mountain Lion Rear View

Mountain Lion Rear View Close Up

Mountain Lion Rear View Close Up

From Ken Logan and Linda Sweanor’s 2001 “Determining the Sex of Treed Cougars“:

“Male adult and subadult cats have a conspicuous black spot of hair, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter surrounding the opening to the penis sheath behind the hind legs and about 4 inches (10 cm) below the anus. The anus is usually hidden by the base of the tail. In between the anus and black spot is the scrotum, which is covered with light to dark brown hair and will usually appear as another dark spot.”

“Female adult and subadult cats do not have this conspicuous black spot of hair. The area is entirely covered in white hair. The anus is directly below the base of the tail and the vulva is directly underneath the anus. Both the anus and the vulva will usually be hidden by the base of the tail.”

So my guess would be female, but then there is that little amount of dark hair just to the left of the tail, but is that too close to the anus. What do you think?

Note: This image was taken two weeks (almost down to the minute) after the second image from the Aptos Mountain Lion Characters Post

2 thoughts on “Identifying Puma Gender by Genital Spots

  1. To throw another wrench in the puzzle, when do males get this spot. Upon sexual maturity at 2 years or so or earlier? Do juveniles look like females?

    • JK, good out of the box thinking. I sometimes get to much into the black and white mode of things so way to think about it in multiple ways.

      Apparently we are lucky though. In another Ken Logan article it states that:
      “the black spot surrounding the penis opening is evident in kittens as young as four weeks of age”. This (girl?) looks pretty big and i can see no residual kitten spots so all the genital markings should be there. What do you think?

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