The Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) is a solitary and elusive animal, which makes it difficult to count and research. Adult Mountain Lions have a tan-colored coat, similar to the African Lion. Males are also somewhat larger than their female counterparts.
These large cats prefer habitats with dense cover and undergrowth, and their territorial range can be as large as 100 square miles. They can be found in environments as varied as deserts, coastal forests, and oak woodlands, and can live from sea level to snow-covered mountaintops.
Hunting from dusk to dawn, Mountain Lions tend to attack their prey from behind. They will kill a Mule Deer about every two weeks but will also prey on smaller animals like coyotes, raccoons, grey foxes, striped skunks, and even bobcats.
Mountain Lions will avoid people at all costs. If you do encounter a Mountain Lion in the wild, STOP, DO NOT RUN. Stand tall, maintain eye contact, and make yourself larger by slowly waving your arms and speaking firmly. Give the cat space and the opportunity to move away.
To learn more about Mountain Lions in California, visit the Mountain Lion Foundation.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kenneth W. Fink