Mountain Lion Facts – Names, Sounds, Size and Roaming Habits
A mountain lion can be a dangerous predator to have around your home, pets and livestock, and, small children are particularly vulnerable. Due to their roaming nature mountain lions can appear without warning. Knowledge and information are key, and that starts by knowing the important facts about mountain lions.
Sounds– The mountain lion vocabulary consists of whistle, chirp, hiss and growl sounds. However, they are most famous for their “nails on the chalkboard” like scream, a scream that is seemingly unmistakable but often mistaken for other animals just the same.
Physical Characteristics – Adult mountain lions usually measure between 2′ and 2.5′ at the shoulders, weigh between 75 to 120 pounds, and are between five to nine feet long from head to tail.
Colors and Appearance – Although these cats do not come in solid black, they do vary greatly in hues. From spotted to solid, light browns, to reddish and silvery grey. Young mountain lions are spotted with ring patterns on their tails. Teenagers often retain dark spots on their hind end for a while. See cub photo below.
Roaming Habits – Mountain lions are roaming wild animals by nature. They often appear without warning, deplete the area’s wildlife population, kill livestock, attack pets, and, sometimes even people. Once they have lost interest in any given area, they will typically move on, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.
Official Range and Habitat
According to “official” facts and sources, the mountain lion is allegedly found in only thirteen states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Colorado, Florida, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. We know better than that and have personally seen evidence of cougars in Oklahoma. Mountain lions have been displaced as man has moved farther and farther into the mountain lion’s habitat.
The cougar was here first and because they are at the top of the food chain, they will remain, and with an ever expanding range.
An Important Note About This Map: The above map represents states that have officially recognized the existence of cougar populations within their boundaries. However, it does not mean that they do not exist in other states. As a matter of fact, we have seen evidence of their existence in states outside the officially recognized habitat and believe they exist to some extent in all fifty US states.
Cougars usually have a large area in which they roam and their habitat can range anywhere between fifty to three hundred and fifty square miles. Typically, their range is in the shape of an oval, or circle. Once they have left “your part” of the circle, it will be a while until they return. Because of their short stay in any given area, it is important to contact us immediately should depredation occur, before additional damage is done.
Cougar Family Life, Reproduction and Lifespan
Female cougars have their young for the first time when they are between 1 and 1/2 to 3 years of age. On average, only on of the usual six kittens lives to adulthood, however, they can have a new litter every 2 to 3 years. After six months of age, the kittens can start to hunt on their own, and generally leave to find their own territory after two years of age. Expected cougar lifespan is 8 to 10 years in the wild, and 20 years in captivity.
Mountain lions tend to be independent, only a mother and her kittens live in groups. They are often elusive, usually only seen at dusk and dawn. However, if you live in cougar country, you should always be very vigilant.
Watching For Signs Of Cougars In Your Area
Cougars strike quickly, so be vigilant and call us right away if you see signs of one’s arrival. Signs to look for include territorial markings including scrape marks, feces and urine. Sometimes the males will scrape leaves and grass into a pile and urinate on it in order to mark its territory – lion territories just barely overlap.
Photo To the left – a picture of puma feces on leaves. Photo To the right – drawings of puma footprint tracks, a hind print on the left and a front print on the right. If you see tracks in your area, take preventative measures.
More On Mountain Lions – Attacks, Removal, Control And Prevention
Cougars In Oklahoma Cougar Removal and Control Mountain Lion Attack Habits and Safety Steps
Learn more about cougar attacks, removal, safety and prevention in our mountain lion control section with information on hunting and trapping cougars and information on related Oklahoma restrictions. You’ll also find out more about feeding habits and what to do if your attacked. We’ve also got advice regarding some precautions you can take now to avoid puma problems later and interesting facts on cougars in Oklahoma.
The American Black Panther
Interesting information on black panther species in the United States and Oklahoma, including black leopard and jaguar characteristics, differences, sightings, habits and range. Info on potential sightings in Oklahoma including pictures of a suspected black panther NW of Tulsa and a dog attacked by the big cat.