Mountain Lion Facts

These mountain lion facts prove just how badass these wild animals are. Sharp teeth, deadly claws, and a deep sense of their natural animal spirit make them a dangerous, fascinating creature. Whether you’re interested in animals native to the Americas or big cats in general, these facts will fill you in on the details.

  1. Who’s Who Did you know that mountain lions, pumas, panthers, mountain cats and cougars are all names for the same creature? Their Latin name is Puma concolor.
  2. Habitat Puma concolors, or mountain lions, are found in the northernmost parts of Canada. They’re territory extends all the way through North, Central and South America. If you’re ever in the Andes, look out for mountain lions!
  3. Size A mountain lion is smaller and lighter than most people would imagine. They don’t get any longer than a little over 5 feet but their tail can add up to three feet to their length. The average weight of a mountain lion is 136 pounds, several dozen pounds lighter than the average human male.
  4. Lifespan While in captivity, a mountain lion can live for a quarter century. In the wild, a mountain lion’s natural life span is about twelve years. Of course, many mountain lions die well before their time at the hands of poachers.
  5. Defensiveness Mountain lions are, as a species, notably protective of their territory. In fact, they’re mostly likely to kill for reasons other than hunger if they feel invaded.
  6. Hunting Mountain lions are primarily nocturnal, hunting in the dark of night and the gray hours of early morning. They are extremely powerful but also use their stealth to stock their prey.
  7. Attacks Mountain lions are powerful and can be dangerous, but they do not ruthlessly kill humans. In fact, the species is known to be shy and prefer solitude. This makes them rare to see but it also means that, despite their bad rap, mountain lions only attack four to five people a year in all of Canada and the United States.
  8. Extinction This great beast has been chased out of nearly all regions of the US. Hunters and food scarcity has depleted their numbers so much in the past 200 years that they are now on the endangered species list.
  9. Territory One of the reasons mountain lions became endangered is that each individual animal requires quite a lot of space to survive. A 30-square-mile chunk of wilderness is only able to support two or three big cats.
  10. Recovery As the deer population in the US recovers from years of overhunting, there is more and more hope that the mountain lion won’t become extinct.
  11. More Information In some areas, If you want to help mountain lions from becoming extinct, you can visit the Defenders of Wildlife website and adopt a cougar.
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