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Mountain Lion

Video from the Mountain Lion Foundation

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion Range Map (N & S America)
Mountain Lion Range Map (N & S America)

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion
Latin Name Felis concolor
Conservation Status Near Threatened
Location North & South America
Colour Various (See Below)
Length 165 - 270 cm (65 - 106 inches)
Tail 66 - 78 cm (26 - 31 inches)
Weight 53 - 72Kg (117 - 159lb) - Males
34 - 48Kg (75 - 106lb) - Females
Life Expectancy

12 - 13 Yrs (Wild).
Upto 21 Yrs (In Captivity)

Main Characteristics

Mountain Lions are large, slender cats with strong muscular limbs. Typically males weigh between 53 and 72 Kgs (117 - 159lbs) and females between 34 and 48 Kgs (75 - 106lbs). Their average length is between 165 and 270 cms (65 - 106 inches). Smaller Mountain Lions are found in the tropical regions, while they get progressively larger towards the Northern and Southern areas of their range. When running they can reach speeds of 70Km/h (43.5 mph), they can jump 12 m (40 ft) from a stand still, and vertically leap 4.5 m (15 ft).

The Mountain Lion's coat hair length and colour is determined by its geographical location, short hair in the tropical regions and longer hair in the northern and southern parts of its range. The colour of its coat varies from light grey in the southern parts of South America, various shades of reddish brown in the tropical regions and a light tan in the Andes and the west coast mountains of the USA.

Their head has black markings on each side of the muzzle and on the back of the ears. They have a pink nose and they are a creamy colour on their underside. The tip of their tail is black and they have spots when they are young, however these disappear when they reach adulthood.

Unlike other large cats the Mountain Lion is distinct as it cannot roar, it makes sounds that are more in common with smaller species of cat.


Mountain Lions have the largest range of any wild cat extending from the Southern part of Canada to the Southern tip of South America (as detailed on the right).

They are solitary animals and the males have home ranges that may cover over 100 square miles. The male's range generally overlaps the smaller ranges of several females.

Each cat normally honors the boundaries that have been set by others therefore territorial disputes are uncommon. Scrapes and urine sprays are the most common ways for Mountain Lion's to mark their boundaries, however males often pile up pine needles or leaves and mark them with a urine spray or fecal deposit.


Mountain Lions are carnivores and their main prey are the white tailed and mule deer but depending on their geographical location their diet also consists of bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, elk, moose, tree porcupines, guanacos, hares, rodents and domestic livestock such as cattle, sheep, pigs and horses.

The Mountain Lion has a great jumping ability and this enables it to ambush and seize its prey. Their prey is usually dragged off to a place of safety before it is consumed.


Mountain Lions mate at any time during the year when the hormone level of the female dictates she is in season. Female Mountain Lions are also known to have a distinctive call to let the males know when they are in season. After mating the Mountain Lions go their separate ways and the male takes no part in raising or protecting the cubs.

The gestation period varies from 84 to 106 days after which a litter of one to three cubs are born in a protected den. The cubs are blind when they are born and they have wooly coats with dark spotted markings on the body and dark rings around the tail. At six months these markings begin to disappear and are usually completely gone by the time the Mountain Lion is one year old.

The cubs leave their mother when they reach 20 to 24 months when they go to establish their own territories.


Humans are the only predators that Mountain Lions have.


The Mountain Lion has at least 30 subspecies, some of which, with their range, are listed below:

Felis concolor concolor - Venezuela, Guyana

Felis concolor acrocodia - south west Mato Grosso to Bolivia and northern Argentina

Felis concolor anthonyi - south Venezuela

Felis concolor araucana - Chile and Argentina

Felis concolor azteca - Arizona and New Mexico to Mexico City

Felis concolor bangsi - west Colombia to west Ecuador

Felis concolor borbensis - Amazonas to Ecuador

Felis concolor browni - Hualpai Mountains Arizona to Catvina, Baja

Felis concolor cabrera - west and central Argentina

Felis concolor californica - California to northern Baja

Felis concolor capricornensis - south east Brazil to northern Argentina

Felis concolor coryi - Arkansas and Louisiana to Florida

Felis concolor costaricensis - Nicaragua to Panama

Felis concolor cougar - Tennessee to east Michigan

Felis concolor greeni - east Brazil to southern Amazonas

Felis concolor hippolestes - North Dakota to Wyoming and Colorado

Felis concolor hudsomi - south central Argentina

Felis concolor improcera - southern Baja, California

Felis concolor incarum - north Peru and southern Ecuador

Felis concolor kaibabensis - Nevada, Utah and northern Arizona

Felis concolor mayensis - Guerro and Vera Cruz, Mexico, to Honduras

Felis concolor missoulensis - British Columbia to Idaho and Montana

Felis concolor oregonensis - south east British Columbia, Washington and Oregon

Felis concolor osgoodi - Central to east Bolivia

Felis concolor pearsoni - Patagonia and southern Chile

Felis concolor puma - Central Chile and west Argentina

Felis concolor schorgeri - Minnesota and Wisconsin to Kansas and Missouri

Felis concolor stanleyana - Oklahoma and Texas to north east Mexico

Felis concolor vancouverensis - Vancouver Island

Interesting Facts

In the English language the Mountain Lion is known by over 40 different names. These names include:
American Lion
Brown Tiger
Deer Cat
Deer Tiger
Florida Panther
Ghost Cat
Indian Devil
King Cat
Mexican Lion
Mountain Demon
Mountain Devil
Mountain Screamer
Painted Cat
Purple Feather
Red Lion
Red Panther
Red Tiger
Silver Lion
Sneak Cat


Mountain Lion Foundation

Similar Animals

Snow Leopard
Clouded Leopard
Sunda Clouded Leopard


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