- Genus/Species: Felis concolor
- Conservation Status: Endangered
- Location: North and South America, Asia and Africa
Mountain lions are found in many habitats from grasslands and swamps to coniferous and tropical forests. These large, slender cats have strong muscular limbs and are solitary and shy by nature. They are fast runners and can reach speeds of 43.5 mph - which is as fast as a car. The mountain lion has a great jumping ability which enables it to ambush and seize its prey. It can jump 40 ft. from a standstill and vertically leap 15 ft. or higher than the ceiling of your room.
Mountain lions are about 5 ft. in length and weighing around 135 lbs. They usually hunt at night and like to prey on deer. They also eat smaller animals such as coyotes, porcupines, and raccoons. Mountain lions stalk their prey until the opportunity arises to attack and they will hide large carcasses and feed on them for several days.
Mountain lions were once plentiful. They were hunted by humans and despised by farmers and ranchers because they killed livestock. As a result their numbers dwindled rapidly. However, we must remember that mountain lions have an essential role to play in nature. They are one of the top predators and the keep the population of deer and other animals down to a healthy level. The mountain lion is also known as a puma, cougar, and catamount.
Did You Know?
- Mountain lions are good swimmers, but they prefer not to get wet.
- Some mountain lions eat porcupines along with their quills- without any side effects!
- A mountain lion makes a variety of noises- it screams, whistles, squeaks, growls, purrs, hisses, and yowls.
- Mountain lions have flexible spines that help them maneuver around obstacles and change direction quickly.