There are several names that are used to refer to the mountain lion such as puma, mountain cat, cougar, catamount, painter and panther but the most common name that is used to refer to it is mountain lion. Mountain lion is a large felidae that belongs to the subfamily felinae and can be found in the Americas since it spreads from the Canadian Yukon to the Southern Andes of South America making it cover the largest area in the Western Hemisphere if it is compared to other large wild mammals. Mountain lion is an adaptable animal which makes it able to live in most of the habitat types that can be found in America unlike other animals. It is heavy in its weight since it is the 2nd heaviest cat in the world to come after Jaguar but in spite of the heavy weight, it is classified among the smaller felines since it is more related in its characteristics to them including domestic cats than other subspecies of lion. Mountain lion is also crepuscular and nocturnal like smaller felines although it is also seen during daylight.
♦ What does it eat?
The mountain lion is a perfect predator that has the ability to pursue and hunt several prey like other predators and the main sources of its food include bighorn sheep, deer, moose, elk, horses, sheep and domestic cattle. The sources of the mountain lion’s food are not limited to animals which are large in their sizes, but there are also other small species that are included in what is hunt by the mountain lion such as rodents and insects.
♦ Where does it prefer to live & how?
Mountain lion prefers to live in the rocky areas and different places with dense underbrush to be able to hide, stalk and hunt its prey. It is also capable of living in open areas since it is an adaptable animal. Mountain lions live in groups with small numbers and the number of each group differs according to the terrain or size of the place in which they live, the amount of food, the number of prey and vegetation.
♦ It is not the most powerful predator
Mountain lion is not the most powerful predator in the place in which it lives since it is dominated by other predators such as the Jaguar which is heavier and larger in its size, grizzly bear, gray wolf and the American black bear.
♦ What are the characteristics of the mountain lion?
The mountain lion is known to be reclusive which means that it is not dangerous, avoids people and rarely attack humans but as a result of the increasing number of people who enter the mountain lion’s territory, the fatal attacks on humans have recently increased making the mountain lion more dangerous.
♦ Decreasing the number of mountain lions
There are several factors that are responsible for decreasing the number of mountain lions and threatening them with extinction. These factors include the prolific hunting of mountain lions and developing their habitats which forced the mountain lions to leave the places in which they used to live such as eastern North America and move to other areas like Nebraska, Dakotas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, Lowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.