Of the estimated 4,000 cougars in Canada, 3,500 live in British Columbia. Of this, nearly a quarter reside on Vancouver Island.

Living mainly in the forested mountain habitats of the Island, the continual expansion of humans into their territory forces these shy creatures to interact with humans.

Many times, residents have mentioned they’ve heard the cougar make what they described as “screaming woman” sounds, which of course sparked questions and curiosity.

Although fellow cats such as lions frequently are associated with loud roaring, cougars, on the other hand, often make piercing and shrill screaming vocalizations. Cougars do not roar. The screeching sound is similar to that of a human female screaming, and male and female cougars alike are capable of it. It also is sometimes described as the noise of a wailing child or a pain-induced, suffering and miserable shriek.

Why do cougars scream?

The cougar scream is linked to mating activities. In female cougars, it often is believed to be an indication of the heat cycle. Heat in cougars takes place at many points during the span of a year. When male cougar screams, it often is due to the rivalry for the attentions of females. The spooky vocalization is prevalent when two — or more — male cougars have their sights set on the same female. Cougars also scream during mating.

We have compiled a couple of Youtube videos, but you might want to lower your volume before hitting play below.

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