Puma Makes Bizarre Screeching Noise in Wild Moment Caught on Video

by Craig Garrett

A viral video of a wild puma vocalizing in a unique way has folks weighing in on why the animal is making the noise. The sound is a sharp, high-pitched noise that’s akin to a bird chirping on a spring day. A trail camera in Chile captured the interesting behavior on video. Chile Today News shared the clip on Youtube.

It almost seems deceptive, as though other animals believe a harmless bird is nearby. The average person certainly wouldn’t expect the sounds to come from a puma. A similar video captures a mountain lion vocalizing in a similar way. In the video below, a young mountain lion is seen chirping in order to find its mother in the wild. According to the video description from user Jasonbear, it’s between 5 and 7 months old.

“New Mountain lion kitten chirping away trying to locate mom,” he captions the video.”This is a new kitten I’m guessing to be between 5-7 months old cruising by my camera just before sunset. Listen to the chirping I think based upon tracks I observed there was at least one more kitten my camera did not catch. On night video section, and end section I believe that is momma cougar earlier that morning then appearing just after dark where kitten or kittens were making the calls to her.” So are pumas chirping for the benefit of their young?

A few theories on why pumas chirp

There are a variety of vocalizations that pumas make. Most of these are beyond the hearing range of humans, which makes sense because people don’t often observe wild mountain lions in the wild. The larynx of a cougar is shaped differently than that of African lions or tigers. As a result, they are unable to roar like their relatives. They can shriek, which is the most recognizable sound. However, they can also purr, meow, hiss, spit, scream, growl, and chirp. It is a popular theory that pumas chirp in order for mothers and their young to locate one another.

Mountain lions are relatively silent when compared to other animals in the same ecosystem. Instead of roaring, they usually make a sound that is more similar to a human whistling or a bird chirping. If you ever hear them growl, it will likely remind you of an oversized house cat. Even their kittens have a raspy purr which is significantly louder than most baby animals. Shrieks heard throughout the night are commonly thought to be from pumas, but these screams are almost always emitted by other creatures.

Another theory is that the chirping is simply a sign of annoyance. It appears that this call, which is made during crepuscular hours, is made out of frustration or to announce oneself. I believe it’s meant to advertise the presence of the mountain lion to other animals, most likely other mountain lions. It has a long range and can be heard up to 300 meters away.