​​​​​​What we Know around Mountain Lions

Much the Colorado, consisting of the front Range, is prime hill lion country. This straightforward fact is a surprise to numerous residents and also visitors. This large, powerful predators have constantly lived here, preying on abundant deer and also playing crucial role in the ecosystem.

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You might live in or recreate in lion country. Like any type of wildlife, mountain lions can be dangerous. Through a better understanding of mountain lions and also their habitat, we have the right to coexist with these splendid animals.​

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Two hill lions resting on a ledge, sheltered indigenous the heat of the day. (Photo courtesy of the USFWS.)

The hill lion, generally known as cougar, panther, or puma, exists just in the west Hemisphere and also is one of North America"s greatest cats. In Colorado, population estimates selection from 3,000 to 7,000 mountain lions. A lion"s natural life expectancy is probably about 12 years in the wild and also up to 25 years in captivity. Lions room very an effective and generally kill huge animals, such as deer and also elk. Natural enemies include other huge predators such together bears, lions, and wolves. They likewise fall victim to accidents, disease, road hazards, and also people.

The status of the mountain lion in Colorado developed from that of varmint, on i beg your pardon a $50 bounty was available from 1929, come designation together a big game species in 1965. The change in legal status reflected growing public appreciation and concern for sound hill lion management.

Physical Appearance

The lion"s scientific name, Felis concolor, means "cat that one color". Hill lions in this area space usually tawny to light cinnamon in shade with black-tipped ears and also tail.Mountain lions vary in size and also weight, v males being larger than females. Adult males might be an ext than 8 feet in length and weigh an median of 150 pounds. Adult females may be up to 7 feet long and also weigh an mean of 90 pounds.Mountain lions space easily distinguished from other wild cat species in Colorado. Lions are much larger than lynx or bobcats and also have a lengthy tail, which may measure one-third that their total length.

​Habitat

The hill lion"s habitat ranges from desert, chaparral, and also badland breaks to subalpine mountains and tropical rain forests.In Colorado, lions are discovered in areas of pinyon pine, juniper, mountain mahogany, ponderosa pine, and oak brush. Lions typically will be most abundant in areas with abundant deer.Individual lions range in locations varying in size from 10 come 370 square miles. Females with young kittens use the smallest areas; adult males occupy the biggest areas.Size the the home range depends on the terrain and also how much food is available. Boundaries of masculine home variety are significant with piles that dirt and also twigs, called scrapes, i beg your pardon signal to other lions the this area is occupied.

​​​Hunting and Feeding Habits​​

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A lynx. Have the right to you phone call the differences in between a lynx and a hill lion? Learn much more about lynx.
Lions room most energetic from dusk come dawn, although lock travel and hunt in daylight. Lions favor to eat deer; however, they additionally kill elk, porcupines, tiny mammals, livestock, and also a variety of domestic pets such together pets.Mountain lions favor to death their very own prey. Like most cats, they take their food by ambush rather than by a lengthy pur​suit. After ~ spotting prey, a lion stalks using available cover, then attacks with a rush, often from behind.Lions generally kill through a an effective bite listed below the basic of the skull, breaking the neck. Lions traction the carcass to a sheltered spot beneath a tree or overhang to feeding on it. Castle cover the carcass through dirt, leaves, or snow and may return to feed on it over the food of a few days. Generally, they move the carcass and re-cover the after each feeding.Lions feeding on a kill deserve to be dangerous to people. Lions that have been fed by world or it seems to be ~ "tame" may become aggressive unexpectedly.

Mating and also Breeding

Female lions typically reproduce when they are around 2 1/2 year old.Courtship begins when a roaming female in warm makes regular sounds and leaves a scent that attracts males. ~ locating the female, the masculine accompanies her for simply a few days when mating occurs.Breeding have the right to take ar throughout the year but most females provide birth in between April and July, following a 3-month gestation period.

Birth to Maturity

The female provides birth to an mean of 2 come 3 young, referred to as kittens. She generally chooses a secluded spot in ~ an uprooted tree or a rocky depression. Treatment of the kittens rests solely with the female. She defends lock vigorously versus male lions, which might kill them.Newborn kittens are about 1 foot long and also weigh about 1 pound. They room covered with blackish-brown spots and have dark rings approximately their quick tails. The young stir only to nurse till they are about 2 weeks old, when their eye open and also they come to be alert and also playful. Weaning wake up at around 2 months.Kittens discover hunting an abilities through play and also exploration, and by watching your mother. Once the young are around 6 weeks old, she starts taking lock to she kills to feed.As the kittens mature, their spots fade. At six months, they sweet over 30 pounds and are qualified hunters. Kittens stay with their mother for another year, boosting their searching skills.

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To find out More

For the most part, people and also wildlife have the right to coexist. Coexisting v wildlife is one enjoyable component of living in Colorado. The an essential is come respect the wildness the wildlife. You deserve to learn much more about lions through reading any kind of of the adhering to books.

A critical Review of literary works on Puma, 1983, by A.E. Anderson, division of Wildlife. Special Report # 54 America"s an excellent Cats, 1986, through Gary Turbak and also Alan Carey, Northland Press, Flagstaff, AZ Soul amongst Lions: The Cougar as relaxed Adversary, 1989, by Harley G. Shaw, Johnson Books, Boulder, CO The Puma: legendary Lion the the Americas, 1987, by J. B. Tinsley, Texas west Press, El Paso, TX The Wonder Series: hill Lion, A Story and Activities, by Sandra Chisholm Robinson, Denver Museum of natural History, Denver, CO