Mountain Lion

Common Name: Mountain Lion

Type: Mammal


The Mountain Lion is known by many names- Puma, Cougar, catamount, and panther. The mountain lion is almost as large as the jaguar and it is one of the two Costa Rican cats that do not carry spotted coats. The mountain lion has the largest range of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They are available from Canada to Argentina including Costa Rica. In North America, they can be found from British Columbia and Alberta to California including the Texas. A small population is available in the east of the Mississippi River. Both the species can be found in the national parks of Costa Rica such as Corcovado National Park, La Selva, Santa Rosa National Park, San Vito, and San Jose.

Size: The average height of a Mountain Lion can be 2 to 2.3 feet at shoulders and can gain a length of the body 3.5-5.5 feet. It has 2-2.5 foot tail length.

Weight: The adult male Mountain Lion is larger than the female, but the average weight of a puma is 110 lbs. The males can gain weight 110-180 lbs. The females weigh slightly less. The Mountain Lion in Costa Rica vary in color from pale tan to reddish.

Diet: The Mountain lions eat large mammals such as deer, white tailed dear, porcupines, cottontails, jackrabbits, domestic cows and smaller mammals such as squirrels, mice, raccoons and beavers.

Average life span: The average lifespan is about 12 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity. Life expectancy in the wild is reported at between 8 to 13 years, and probably averages 8 to 10; a female of at least 18 years was reported killed by hunters on Vancouver Island. Cougars may live as long as 20 years.

Habitat: The Mountain Lion make their home in dens, trees, or on the ground. They are rarely found outside of protected areas in Costa Rica. The Mountain Lion have been hunted for their pelts, but not nearly to the degree that these cats to be diminished. The Mountain Lion’s biggest adversary, besides the jaguar, is man. They are killed by farmers and game hunters in Costa Rica and are adversely affected by habitat destruction through deforestation.

Breeding/Reproduction: The Mountain Lion males and females do not come together unless the female is in heat and if that is the case, a couple will copulate Fifty to Seventy times a day. The copulation frequency is high because ovulation in a female can only be induced by frequent mating. The gestation period lasts about 90 days resulting in one to six young. They will be nursed for three or four months and stay with the mother until they are about one and a half to two years old. Mountain Lions reach sexual maturity at about the age of two and half years.
Their mating season is commonly from December to March. However, it can take place any time during the year. The gestation period is around 82 to 96 days. The Males that go into another male’s territory have been known to kill the kittens so that females will be more willing to mate.

Mountain lion
has many names: Puma, Cougar, Catamount and Panther etc. It is one of the two Costa Rican cats which don’t have spots on their body. Their average weight is about 110 lb. Their colors range from pale tan to reddish.

Costa Ricans’ Mountain Lion height and length is comparable to those of jaguars but they are slimmer with respect to them. They have thirty eight chromosomes in the cells of their body. Their coat is thick and soft. They have a round head and their ears are straight and erect. They can run as fast as 55 km/hr. They can swim like fish but still they try to avoid water. Studies have shown that they eat 6 days out of every 9. They are very strong and can travel 40 miles in one night.

They have a length of 6-8 feet if the 28-30 inches of tail is included. They have a shoulder height of almost 27 inches.
They can climb trees up to 16 ft. They have the ability to climb like cats and attack like lions.

Mountain Lions are mostly found in the protected areas of the Costa Rica as they are not allowed to go outside due to the fear of their getting extinct.

They prefer to live on higher and drier grounds. They make their homes in dense areas of the forests as they use hiding strategy to attack on their prey. These places are the best for stalking purposes.

They stalk their prey before attacking them and then attack on the right moment. Mountain lions attack on the neck of their victims by jumping on them from behind on their backs. Then they bite on their necks. They feed on different types of animals and hide their killed animals in safe places and then come back after some time to eat them when they are hungry. These lions do not like to eat dead animals they have not killed, but in some cases eat them as well. They try to stay away from human beings but in rare cases attack them.

They mark their territories by urinating and by small patches on the ground. They have 150-1000 square meters of territories.

They reach maturity when they are of 15 months old but they become sexually active on reaching two and a half years of age.

If the female is in heat they mate 50-70 times a day because they need to mate frequently to produce offspring. They require 3 months to give birth to offspring and produce up to 6 offspring at a time.
Cougars mostly die before reaching ten years of age. They do not have a longer life time.

Men kill them in order to save their cattle. Farmers have to feed on these cattle so they kill them for saving their cattle. They have to do so for their survival.

Mountain Lions produce a variety of sounds but are unable to roar like lions. Due to their inability to roar they are not placed among large cats.

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