Mountain lions are known by more than 100 names, including panther, catamount, cougar, painter and puma. It's scientific name is Felis concolor, which means "cat of one color."
At one time, mountain lions were very common! They lived all over North and South America. Now they are scarcer, although in California they are making quite a come-back. In the US today they can be found in the western states, southern Texas, and Louisiana and Arkansas.
There are a few lions left in Florida, maybe 30 or 40 adults. The Florida mountain lion is called the Florida panther. This is the rarest type of mountain lion. It's also the rarest large mammal in North America. There is a picture of him on some of Florida's license plates.
A mountain lion was seen recently across the road from our church, Calvary Chapel Monterey Bay! Christina, our church secretary, saw it as she was leaving the property one night. Exciting, huh!
The large cats of the world are divided into two groups- those that roar, like tigers and African lions, and those that purr. Mountain lions purr, hiss, scream, and snarl, but they cannot roar.
A full-grown male mountain lion may be 9 feet long, including his tail!
They can jump a distance of 30 feet, and jump as high as 15 feet. It would take quite a fence to keep a mountain lion out!
Their favorite food is deer, but they'll eat other critters as well. They hunt alone, not in packs like wolves. They sneak up on their prey just like a house cat sneaks up on a bird or toy- one slow step at a time. A lion can eat ten pounds of meat at one time! That's equivalent to 40 quarter-pounder hamburgers!
They have orange noses.