This tawny cat is known by many names, including cougar, puma, catamount, and panther.
Shy & elusive, mountain lions are solitary animals, living within a system of mutual avoidance. A tan-colored coat, long & heavy tail, and powerful legs characterize this species. From a standing position, a mountain lion can jump 15 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally! Remarkably adaptable to a wide range of habitats, the big cats seem equally at home in Canada's alpine forests, Arizona's Sonoran Desert, the Florida Everglades, or Mexico's jungles. They are found from sea level to almost 15,000 feet in elevation. In all their habitats, the preferred food source is deer, but mountain lions also feed on birds and small mammals.
Mountain lions are now competing for space with a rapidly expanding human population. Many people live or recreate in or near mountain lion habitat. New developments take away critical habitat, forcing these solitary and far-roaming creatures into contact with humans. Numerous mountain lion populations that once existed in the US are now extinct because of habitat loss.