Want to learn some mountain lion facts for kids? You’ll find them in this post. We’ll talk about their physical description, diet, offspring, and more!
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the mountain lion is the mammal with the highest number of different names. There are forty names for a mountain lion in the English language alone. The mountain lion has so many names because it is called by a different name based upon where it lives.
Mountain lions have small, round heads with rounded, erect ears and short snouts. They are “tawny” colored. Their muscular, slim bodies are covered with reddish-brown fur, except for the whitish chest and belly areas.
Mountain lions often have black around the edges of their ears, snouts, and on the tips of their thick tails. Mountain lions have dark gold eyes that shine green at night.
A grown mountain lion typically weighs between sixty-five and two hundred and twenty pounds. Mountain lions are typically eight feet long from head to tail. Their tail is about two-thirds of their total length. Female mountain lions are smaller than males.
Mountain lions are found in South and North America. They are found throughout the United States, parts of Canada, and almost all of South America.
Mountain lions are adaptable and live in any habitat where they can find shelter and prey. Mountain lions live in mountains, forests, deserts, rocky canyons, grasslands, and wetlands. They live in low area habitats as well as high area habitats up to ten thousand feet.
Facts about Mountain Lion Habits
Mountain lions are solitary creatures that are most active at dusk and dawn. They may also hunt during the day and at night. They are territorial. The territory of a male mountain lion can be up to a hundred square miles. A female's territory range can be up to sixty square miles.
Mountain lions roam their territory to hunt. They stalk prey by zig-zagging through their territory while hiding from time to time. They hide and lie in wait for prey, then attack by pouncing and biting the back of the neck.
If a mountain lion doesn't eat his prey all at once, he covers it up with leaves and debris. Then he returns later to eat his leftovers.
Mountain lions are carnivores and need meat to survive. Mountain lions prefer to eat deer, but they are opportunistic predators. They also prey on other mammals that are available. Other animals that mountain lions commonly eat are elk, moose, antelope, mountain goats, horses, and bighorn sheep.
Mountain Lion Offspring
Unlike many animals, mountain lions mate at any time of the year. The female mountain lion gives birth to her litter of kittens after about three months of pregnancy. She can give birth to up to seven kittens, but usually gives birth to three or four. The kittens weigh from seven to sixteen ounces. They are born blind, deaf, and unable to move well. Mountain lion kittens have spotted fur when they are born.
The kittens’ eyes open when they are about two weeks old. Their eyes are blue for the first few months. Around six months, their eyes turn gold, they can hear, and they lose their spots.
Once the kittens have matured, they begin to go hunting with their mother. Their mother continues to care for them, and they practice hunting and climbing skills as they get older.
Juvenile mountain lions leave their mother and find their own territory when they are between one and two years old. The female mountain lions find a territory that is close to their mother's. The male mountain lions leave to find a territory that is far away from where they were born. When mountain lions are three years old, they are old enough to mate.
Species: Puma concolor (pumas / cougars / mountain lions)
Mountain lions share a common ancestor with the African cheetah and the American jaguarundi. Mountain lions originated in Asia and crossed into the Americas about eight and a half million years ago. Mountain lions survived the Ice Age ten thousand years ago.
Wolves and bears are the main predators of mountain lions. Some mountain lion populations are increasing, and others are decreasing. The mountain lion’s conservation status is “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
Mountain lions can live up to ten years in the wild. They live about twice that long in captivity. Female mountain lions typically live longer than males.
25+ Unusual Facts about Mountain Lions
- All the Puma concolor species of cats are the largest of the “small cats.”
- The Florida panther is a subspecies of the mountain lion.
- Mountain lions have the largest range of any land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, except for humans.
- Mountain lions hiss, growl, and purr, but they do not roar.
- Mountain lions are smaller in size as they get closer to the equator.
- Mountain lions will “bluff-charge” a person to displace them from their food or cubs.
- Mountain lion tracks lack nail markings and have pads shaped like an “M.”
- There have been fewer than 12 deaths from mountain lion attacks in North America over the last century.
- Mountain lions don't have dens. They rest in areas with caves, rocks, wood piles, or thick vegetation.
- Mountain lions don't hunt people.
- Mountain lions don't hunt in a group or a pack.
- Mountain lions are known to kill livestock and other domestic animals.
- Mountain lions do not make good pets. It’s illegal to own them in most places.
- 3 of the 20 mountain lion subspecies have been designated as “endangered.”
- Mountain lions can jump up to 18 feet off the ground.
- Mountain lions can eat an entire porcupine without getting poked.
- Mountain lions leave messages using poop, urine, and scratches in dirt and snow.
- Mountain lions’ retractable claws are great for climbing trees and catching prey.
- Mountain lions can swim well, but they don't like water.
- Mountain lions were once distributed throughout North and South America.
- Mountain lions can sprint at 50 miles per hour.
- The scientific name of a mountain lion is Puma concolor.
- Mountain lions play an important part in wildlife and ecosystems.
- There are 6 mountain lion subspecies that have been genetically defined.
- Mountain lions are also called cougars.
- Mountain lions are linked to domestic cats more than they are to lions.
- The mountain lion population in the United States is between 20,000 and 40,000.
We hope you enjoyed learning all about mountain lions! Did you learn anything new? Let us know any other fun facts you know about them. We can’t wait to hear more.
Here are some other fun mammals that you might want to learn about.