temperate (warm); tropical (hot and
Habitat: desert or dune; savanna or grassland; chaparral; forest;
rainforest; scrub forest; mountains.
Other: suburban; agricultural; the
banks of rivers
to 120 kg
of an Adult Cougar
to 1540 mm
The fur has a thin and coarse mixture of color. The
color ranges from a brownish yellow to brownish gray on the upper parts
paler, almost puffy, color on the belly. The throat and chest are
Mountain lions have a pinkish nose with a black border that extends to
lips. The muzzle stripes, the area behind the ears, and the tip of tail
are black. The eyes of mature cougars are grayish brown to golden.
The tail is
and about one-third of the animal's total length. The limbs are short
and are muscular.
The feet are broad, with four toes on the hind feet and five on front
two. The “big”toe
is small and set above the other toes. The retractable claws are
curved. The skull is wide, thick, and short. The region of the forehead
and arched. The mouth and nasal bones are broad. The mandible is short,
and powerfully constructed.
The carnivor teeth are massive and
canines are heavy and compressed. The incisors are small and straight.
have one more small premolar on each side of the upper jaw than do
The skull is broad, thick, and short, with a high, arched
massive teeth modified for grabbing and slicing prey.
Males weigh from 36 to 120
kilograms and females from 29 to 64
Head and body length ranges
from 1020 to
1540 millimeters in males and 860 to 1310 millimeters in females. Tail
range from 680 to 960 millimeters in males and 630 to 790 millimeters
between a male
and female; a male larger.
female cougars usually give
birth every two years.
throughout the year, in
northern parts of their range mating is more concentrated from December
to 6; avg. 3
to 96 days
Time to weaning
Average age to
Average age to impregnate(male)
territories that overlap with some of the
females. They attempt
to mate with those females.
not mate until it has established a home
female is in heat, she vocalizes freely and frequently rubs against
The male responds with similar yowls.
The highest frequency of
copulation was nine times in one hour.
There is a 67% chance of a live birth
With more than one
wife, courtship and
mating occurs throughout the year
Gestation (mating) periods last from 82
A female mountain lion can come into heat any time of the year.
It usually lasts about nine days.
Females usually give birth every other year.
cycles (in heat) without mating, the female will not go into heat for
at least two months before going in heat again.
Males remain reproductively (mating) active to at least an age of
years, and females to at least an age of 12 years.
Litters vary in size
to 6 cubs with an average of 3 or 4. Birth weight is between 226 to 453
The cubs open their eyes 10 days after birth. At the same time their
unfolds, their first teeth erupt, and they begin play. The cubs are
weaned at about 40 days of age. Mother and cubs remain together for as
26 months, though the average is 15 months. Male young disperse from 23
kilometers, while females disperse from 9 to 140 kilometers. Males
maturity at about 3 years of age and females at 2 1/2 years.
care for and nurse
their cubs until they are about a year old. The young are born helpless
protected by the
mother in a sheltered area until they are big enough to roam and begin
and practice hunting skills.
live up to 18 to 20 years in the wild. They can
longer in zoos.
solitary animals, with the
exception of 1 to 6 days of associations during mating and periods of
Population varies from as low as one individual per 85 square
kilometers to as
high as one per 13 to 54 square kilometers, depending on the density of
and other resources in the area. Females with dependent cubs live
wide space used by the resident male. Mountain lions mark their
depositing urine or fecal materials by trees marked with scrapes.
lions are primarily nocturnal. Males are found together immediately
leaving their mother, but rarely as established adults. Mountain lions
summer and winter home ranges in some areas, requiring a migration
nocturnal; motile; migratory; sedentary; solitary;
territorial.Communication and Perception
rely mainly on vision, smell, and hearing.
low-pitched hisses, growls, purrs, yowls, and screams in different
circumstances. Loud, chirping whistles by young serves to call the
Touch is important in social bonding between mother and young. Scent
important in advertising territory boundaries and reproductive state.
with: visual; reflexes; acoustic; chemical; scent marks. :
are carnivores. Their main prey throughout
their range are
different species of ungulates, including moose, elk, white-tailed
deer, mule deer, and caribou in North America. They
eat smaller creatures like squirrels,
muskrat, porcupine, beaver, raccoon, skunk, coyote, bobcats, other
mountain lions, rabbits, opossums, birds, and even snails and fish.
also prey on domestic livestock, including poultry, calves, sheep,
pigs. Mountain lions have a distinctive manner of hunting larger prey.
quietly stalks the prey animals, then leaps at close range onto their
breaks the animal's neck with a powerful bite below the base of the
Yearly food consumption is between 860 to 1,300 kg of large prey
48 ungulates per lion per year. Mountain lions cache large prey,
dragging it up
to 350 meters from the place of capture and burying it under leaves and
They return nightly to feed.
mountain lions are secretive and generally avoid
humans, about 4
humans per year fall prey to mountain lions. These are generally small
and children traveling alone during dawn, dusk, or at night. It is
mountain lions mistake these humans for ungulates.
stores or caches food.
Mountain lions are top predators. They
may be preyed on
by other mountain lions, wolves, or bear when they are young or ill.
are important as top predators in the
ecosystems in which
they live. They are instrumental in controlling populations of large
are considered to be threats to cattle and
also considered a
potential danger to children and adults. These threats are sometimes
exaggerated. It is helpful to learn more about mountain lion behavior
to avoid encounters.
have considerable trophy value and are hunted
They are also captured to be put in zoos. Mountain lions are important
in their role as top predators, helping to control populations of
people benefit from these animals: body parts are
source of valuable material; research and
education; controls pest population.