I stumbled across an interesting news article about the diet of cougars in British Columbia’s, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It is widely accepted that cougars predominantly prey upon deer. However, this study found that deer were not the primary prey species in this area, and that raccoons were their number one prey item. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a link to the actual study, and the news article did not indicate how the prey percentages were measured. Obviously, raccoons are smaller than deer, so a cougar would have to eat several raccoons to get the same number of calories as in a deer.
The most interesting part of the article was the discovery that this population of cougars was utilizing marine mammals as prey, in particular harbor seals and sea lions. This is the first account of cougars eating marine mammals. This is particularly surprising considering that marine mammals made up 34% of their diet in one section of the study area.