Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about one of our fellow species of the animal family, the puma.
In the fifty third episode of The Simpsons, Separate Vocation (Season 03, Episode 18), the students of Springfield Elementary take the Career Aptitude Normalization Test, or CANT test. Lisa finds out she is suited to be a homemaker, while Bart is more suited to be a police officer.
This throws the dynamics of both kids for a loop, as Bart decides to become a hall monitor after going on a police ride along. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes a rebel and starts creating problems around the school. Her pranks include vandalizing Principal Skinners precious school mascot puma statue.
But have you ever wondered what pumas are?
Pumas are species of mammals that belong to the cat family and are native to the Americas. Pumas can be found as far north as the Canadian Yukon to the Southern Andes in South America. They are classified as follow:
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Mammalia
Order – Carnivora
Suborder – Feliformia
Family – Felidae
Subfamily – Felinae
Genus – Puma
Species – concolor
As a result, the puma is known by a wide variety of names. In fact, the puma holds the Guinness world record for the animal with the greatest number of names, with over 40 in English alone. The most common name is cougar. Besides cougar and puma, other names include mountain lion, panther, catamount, and painter to name a few. The term ‘puma’ dates back to the Quechua language in the 16th century, where it means “powerful”.
Pumas have similar body types to house cats, only on a larger scale. They are the second largest cat in the New World, after only the jaguar. They have slender bodies and round heads with pointed ears. They vary between 1.5-2.7 meters (5-9 feet) from head to tail. While males can weigh up to 68 kg (150 lbs), females weigh less, maxing out at nearly 45 kg (100 lbs).
Pumas prey on deer, but can also feed on smaller animals if necessary. Skilled and cunning hunters, pumas stay hidden from their prey until they can pounce with claws out-stretched. Pumas can also climb with ease and leap over 6 meters (20 feet). After killing a large animal, pumas hides the carcass and eat it over the coming days.
For the most part, the puma has no natural enemies and sits atop the food chain. However, they occasionally compete with other predators for food. This includes the grizzly bear, black bear, wolves, and alligators.
Now that we’ve learned more about pumas, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Have you ever heard of pumas? What name(s) do you know them by? Have you ever encountered a puma? What was your school mascot? What’s your favourite Simpsons cat reference? What about your favourite Simpsons school episode? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.