Minnesotans For Sustainability©

 

Sustainable:  A society that balances the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period.

 

 

 

Mountain Lion*

The mountain lion is called by more names than any other Colorado mammal – cougar, puma, panther, catamount or just plain lion – and all connote respect for a magnificent hunter. Colorado’s largest cat, adult lions areMountain Lion head sketch. more than 6 feet long, with a graceful,  black-tipped tail 32 inches long. They weigh 130 pounds or more. Color is reddish to buffy, paler below.

Cougars have the largest geographic range of any native American mammal other than humans – from western Canada to Argentina. Once they ranged from coast to coast in the United States, but today eastern populations are extinct or endangered. The West is their stronghold, and in Colorado they are most abundant in foothills, canyons or mesa country. They are more at home in brushy areas and woodlands than in forests or open prairies.

Active year round, the lion’s staple diet is deer. Adults maintain their condition by eating a deer a week. The deer is often killed cleanly with a broken neck. The cat gorges on the carcass until it can eat no more, covers the remainder with leaves of conifer needles, then fasts for a few days, digesting and resting.

Mountain lions may breed at any time of year, but mating peaks in spring. Births are most common in July, after a gestation period of about 14 weeks. Two or three spotted, fist-sized (about 1 pound) kittens are a typical litter. They are weaned about six weeks of age, at eight times their birth weight, and the mother teaches them to hunt, practicing on rodents and rabbits.

 If You Meet a Mountain Lion

  

Mountain lion snarling.

Stay calm if you come upon a lion. Talk calmly yet firmly to it. Move slowly. Stop or back away slowly. Do not run. Raise you arms to appear larger. If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, Branches, or whatever you can get your hands on. Without crouching down or turning your back. Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back.

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* Courtesy of the Colorado Division of Wildlife
March 3, 2003
See original at < http://wildlife.state.co.us/Education/LivingWithWildlife/LionCountry.asp >.

 

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