I'm doing some researches for my book. I've read that the impact winter which lead to dinosaurs extinction was 18 months long. Long enough to kill plant life, big herbivorous and big carnivorous. I want something similar for my book, in present times.

An asteroid falls, and we got 18 months of impact winter.

Long ago some animals survived, like flying dinosaurs, because they ate seeds (which last longer than plants). Small mammals ate bugs, etc. You all know the history.

So, doing some research in my region, I found out that puma (quite versatile mammal) not just eat big animals, but smalls too and even bugs. It can live in many biomes as well. Seem like a great survivor, but... it is a big cat.

What do you think? Could a puma survive an impact winter?

  • $\begingroup$ no need to rush accepting an answer. it's not even half an hour since you posted the question. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Oct 27, 2019 at 3:32

1 Answer 1


I don't think puma will survive.

The main issue with a puma is its size.

To sustain a large body it's necessary an higher intake of food. During an impact winter food will be scarce, since plants will die, herbivores feeding on those plants will follow, and so carnivores. Making a long story short, the food chain will be disrupted.

To be able to survive on a very frugal diet, a small body is a blessing. The proto-mammals which survived the dinosaurs were rodent sized, and even the dinosaurs which later became birds were not on the side of XXL size.

The diet of a puma is estimated to be

A successful generalist predator, the cougar will eat any animal it can catch, from insects to large ungulates (over 500 kg (1,100 lb)) [...] Kills are generally estimated around one large ungulate every two weeks. The period shrinks for females raising young, and may be as short as one kill every three days when cubs are nearly mature around 15 months. The cat drags a kill to a preferred spot, covers it with brush, and returns to feed over a period of days. The cougar is generally reported to not be a scavenger, but deer carcasses left exposed for study were scavenged by cougars in California, suggesting more opportunistic behavior.

500 kg every two weeks account for about 35 kg/day. Quite a lot of mass of insects/bugs, for an harsh period like impact winter.


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