Mountain Lions have the widest distribution of any species of native mammal in the Western Hemisphere. Today they are common ffrom the Colorado front range to the Pacific Ocean, and south to Argentina. An endangered subspecies inhabits the swamps and pine lands of southern Georgia and Florida. Once hunted aggressively, populations have stabilized and are even moving east across the plains. Some models suggest mountains lions may reach east coast mountain ranges within the next 20 years.
General Description: Mountain lions have many common names including: cougar, panther, catamount and puma. Mountain Lions are the largest wild felines in North America and full-grown males can exceed 200 lbs. At the shoulder, lions can measure 3' - 4' high with a body length of 5' - 6'. Their fur ranges in color from light tan to dark brown and enables lions to withstand sub freezing temperatures for extended periods.
Diet and Behavior: Lions are solitary animals and are rarely seen. They are generally nocturnal and possess excellent night vision which they use while hunting. On average, a mountain lion will consume one deer per week. Post-hunt, a mountain lion will cover the remains of its prey with brush, and return periodically to feed ("caching). If you find a cache, leave the area immediately - there's almost certainly a hungry mountain lion in the vicinity. Other lion prey also includes small elk, coyote, fox and a variety of rodents. They supplmement their diet with grasses, berries and insects.
Mountain Lion Tracks: Mountain lion tracks comprise four toes on the front foot, which rarely show claw marks due to their retractable nature. You can discern lion prints from canine prints because the lion prints will be wider (like the width of a closed fist), while the canine tracks will appear more narrow. The lion tracks can be well over four inches long. Lion tracks are often difficult to discern from bobcat or lynx tracks, and the only sure way to know if if you see the animal leave the print.