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Mountain Lion | California Living Museum

Animals

Mountain Lion

  • The mountain lion is also known as the cougar, puma, panther and catamount, and is the largest wildcat in North America. They are tan colored cats with tawny-beige fur, except for a whitish-gray belly and chest. Black markings decorate the tip of the tail, ears and around the snout. They have powerful limbs and can leap as high as 15 feet and as far as 40 feet.

    Mountain lions are stealthy, hunting at night and often lying in wait for prey or silently stalking it before pouncing from behind, delivering a lethal bite to the spinal cord. Typically, they prey on deer, but also feed on smaller animals, and even insects when necessary.

    Mountain lions inhabit a wide range of ecosystems, making their home anywhere there is shelter and prey, including mountains, forests, deserts and wetlands. Unlike other large cats, they cannot roar. Instead they growl, shriek, hiss and purr, similar to house cats. Baby mountain lions are born blind and are dependent on their mothers for the first 3 months of their lives.

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