Mountain Lion

The widespread mountain lion, also known as the cougar or puma, is now becoming increasingly rare and some subspecies are in danger of extinction. It varies greatly in color and size over its range, but tawny and grayish-brown are predominant. A solitary creature, the mountain lion occupies a defined territory. A male’s home range may overlap with the territories of one or more females, but not with the territory of another male.

Normally active in the early morning and evening, the mountain lion may emerge at any time. Its basic prey are mule and other deer, but it also eats rodents, hares and occasionally, domestic cattle. Having stalked its prey, the mountain lion pounces and kills with a swift bite.

Young are born in the summer in the temperate north and south of the range, or at any time of year in the tropics. Male and female pair for the season, maybe longer, and during his mate’s period of sexual receptivity, or heat, the male fights off any rivals. The litter of 2 to 4 young is born after a gestation of 92 to 96 days in a den, among rocks or in thick vegetation, which the female may use for some years. At 6 or 7 weeks old the young start to take solid food, brought to them by their mother, and remain with her for 1 or even 2 years.

Range: S.W. Canada, W. USA, Mexico, Central and South America.

Habitat: Mountainsides, forest, swamps, grassland.

Size: Body: 3 ¼ – 5 ¼ ft (1 – 1.6 m); Tail: 23 ½ – 33 ½ in (60 – 85 cm).