Yellowstone National Park Wildlife
Mountain Lions

The Mountain Lion (felis concolor), is also known by many other names: cougar, puma, deer tiger, Mexican lion, mountain screamer, brown tiger, catamount, silver lion, mountain demon, Indian devil, purple feather, king cat, sneak cat, and panther. It is the second largest cat in the Americas and is the largest member of the cat family living in Yellowstone Park.

Male mountain lions can weigh more than 220 lbs and attain lengths of 8 feet. Females are smaller, staying at around 140 lbs and reaching 6 feet in length. In Yellowstone the average weight is 140-160 lbs. A mountain lion is generally a solitary animal and can stake out a home range of up to 100 square miles. Currently, the lion population is estimated to be 18-24 animals.

The Yellowstone mountain lions reside throughout the park during the summer, but can be found most often in the northern range of the park where prey is available year-round. They stalk mostly elk and deer and porcupine, but will usually take what opportunity provides.

The mountain lion is a predator of extraordinary capabilities. Some males can make running long jumps that have exceeded 45 feet with vertical leaps up to 15 feet. Although no documented mountain lion attacks on humans have occurred in Yellowstone, there have been attacks in other areas of the West in recent years. Visitors should obey park rules concerning wildlife, use common sense when camping, and as with any large wild animal, avoid confrontational behavior.

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National Geographic Park Profiles: Yellowstone Country