Mountain Lion (Felis Concolor)
The mountain lion (Felis concolor), also known as the cougar or puma, ranks among the most illusive and discussed of all of North America’s wildlife species. And rightfully so.
The mountain lion (cougar, puma, catamount, panther) is the largest cat native to North America. The head is relatively small, and the face is short and rounded. The neck and body are elongate and narrow. The legs are very muscular and the hind legs are considerably longer than the forelegs. The tail is long, cylindrical, and well haired. The pelage of the mountain lion varies considerably.
Pictured: (Cougar on a back porch in Wyoming. Do you think they are still afraid of us?)
There are two major color phases — red and gray. The red phase varies from buff, cinnamon, and tawny to a very reddish color, while the gray phase varies from silvery gray to bluish and slate gray, often mistaken for black in low lighting conditions, thus causing a mis-identification of the species to be a Black Panther. The sides of the muzzle are black. The upper lip, chin, and throat are whitish. The tail is the same color as the body, except for the tip, which is dark brown or black. The young are yellowish brown with irregular rows of black spots. Male mountain lions are usually considerably larger than females. Adults range from 72 to 90 inches (183 to 229 cm) in total length including the tail, which is 30 to 36 inches (76 to 91 cm) long. They weigh from 80 to 200 pounds (36 to 91 kg). The mountain lion’s skull has 30 teeth. Female mountain lions have 8 mammae.
- Prey on deer, elk, and domestic stock, particularly horses,
sheep, goats, cattle, rodents and other small mammals,
hikers, and mountain bikers when available.
- Can kill large numbers of animals in one night, eg. a lone lion
attacked a herd of ewes and killed 192 in one night. However, 5
to 10 sheep killed in a single night is more typical.
- Mountain lions, having relatively short, powerful jaws, kill with
bites inflicted from above, often severing the vertebral column
and breaking the neck. They also kill by biting through the
These two pictured are most likely tracking deer … but would you really want to find out?