SPECIES OVERVIEW - Mountain Lion
The mountain lion—also known as the cougar or puma—is a large cat species native to the Americas. Mountain lions are large, tan cats. Their bodies are mainly covered in tawny-beige fur, except for the whitish-gray belly and chest. Black markings decorate the tip of the tail, ears, and around the snout. Mountain lions vary hugely in average body size depending on geographic location—their size is smallest closer to the equator and largest closer to the poles. Generally, though, males weigh between 115 and 220 pounds and females weigh between 64 and 141 pounds. The mountain lions’ range spreads all across the Americas, from the Canadian Yukon to The Strait of Magellan, the greatest of range of any living mammal in the Americas. Mountain lions inhabit a wide range of ecosystems, making their home anywhere there is shelter and prey, including mountains, forests, deserts, and wetlands. They are territorial and have naturally low population densities, which means the species requires large swaths of wilderness habitat to thrive. Mountain lions can breed year-round. Female mountain lions usually give birth every two years. Litters can range in size from one to six cubs. The young may stay with their mother for as long as 26 months, but usually separate after about 15 months. In the wild, a mountain lion can live up to 10 years.