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Mountain lions are also known as cougars, pumas, panthers and catamounts. They are the largest wild cat in North America and are best known for their powerful limbs that can jump as far as 40 to 45 feet.
See the fact file below for more information on the mountain lions or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Mountain Lion worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Habitat, Anatomy and Life Cycle
- Common Name: Mountain Lion
- Scientific Name: Puma concolor
- Family: Felidae
- Habitat: Mountains, forests, grassland and deserts
- Diet: Carnivore
- Classification: Mammal
- Average Lifespan in the Wild: 9 to 13 years
- Conservation Status: Least concern
- Mountain lions are found in both North and South America. Large populations of this feline are seen in Canada, British Columbia, southern Alberta, California, Texas and Florida.
- Among land mammals, mountain lions have the widest geographic range in the western hemisphere and are found all over the United States.
- Mountain lion home ranges include hunting areas, resting areas, water sources, denning sites and lookout points. Cougars that occupy home ranges are called residents, while subadults that are newly establishing their own are known as transients.
- Mountain lions are carnivores. They prey on deer, squirrel, rabbit and beavers.
- They hunt early in the early morning and evening hours. Despite their poor sense of smell, mountain lions have excellent vision and hearing.
- They can travel long distances at 10 mph up, can run up to 50 mph and can leap 15 feet up a tree.
- After jaguars, mountain lions are the second heaviest wildcat in America. They can weigh up to 115 to 265 pounds and measure up to 8 feet.
- They have a long, lean body. Males are a bit heavier and taller than females, but both have small heads and rounded ears.
- One-third of their total length is their heavy tail, which is also a distinguishing feature.
- Mountain lion cubs or kittens have recognizable camouflaging spots and rings on their tails, which fade as they mature.
- Females usually give birth to two to four cubs after 82 to 96 days of gestation and have a birth interval of 1 ½ to 2 years.
- Mountain lions are solitary animals and territorial. They avoid others of their kind except during courtship and mating.
- Cougars mark their territory by clawing on trees and urinating on leaves.
- Males have larger territories than females. When females give birth, the size of their territory decreases but soon increases as her cubs mature.
- They are active solitary hunters and are known to attack prey from behind. When they have a big kill, they bury or hide it, coming back to feed when they’re hungry again.
- They are stalking predators that get as close as possible to their prey before ambushing and killing it with a bite on the neck.
- Cubs or kittens are raised by their mother alone. They are nursed for two months before they’re taught to hunt. For 1 ½ to 2 years, cubs stay close to their mothers.
- Mothers move from one territory to another to protect their cubs from male mountain lions.
- Mountain lions are polygamous, meaning both males will mate with multiple females.
- Mating can occur at any time of the year but most litters are produced between July and September.
Human Encounter and Conservation Status
- In Native American cultures, mountain lions are protectors of the cosmos. The Miwoks of California considered cougars ideal hunters, strong and brave, like a chief of animals. On the other hand, the Apaches see them as an omen of death.
- Aztec physicians used sharpened bones of a puma to ward off death.
- In contrast to the reverence shown by Native American cultures, Inca rulers used to hunt puma as part of a game in ancient Peru. Warriors would kill a puma in order to enter the warrior society.
- In the 1960s, cougars were classified as game animals in Nevada, Washington, Utah, and California, but by 1990 residents of California passed a referendum giving cougars protection from hunting for sport.
- In the 1980s, mountain lions were hunted in the United States due to depredation. Permits were only issued to those with records of cattle, lamb and sheep attacks.
- There are very rare accounts of mountain lions attacking humans. But in case of an encounter, stop, do not run, instead make eye contact, stand tall, raise your arms to look bigger and give them time to move on.
- In general, mountain lions in the United States are protected, except for those in Florida that are considered endangered with less than 100 individuals.
Mountain Lion Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about mountain lions across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Mountain Lion worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the mountain lions which are also known as cougars, pumas, panthers and catamounts. They are the largest wild cat in North America and are best known for their powerful limbs that can jump as far as 40 to 45 feet.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Mountain Lion Facts
- Clawsome Facts
- Mountain Lion Anatomy
- World of the King
- The Lion Guard
- Family Felidae
- The Wild Cat
- Mighty Lion
- Born a Lion
- Feline Ranger
- Brave as a Mountain Lion
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Link will appear as Mountain Lion Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 29, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.