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Mountain Lions

Your chances of encountering a mountain lion are small. However, mountain lion attacks have been on the rise as humans increasingly enter these cats’ territory. If at any time you spot a mountain lion, report the sighting or encounter to your local forest ranger station or visitor center as soon as possible.

Mountain lion facts 

  • mountain lion The mountain lion is also known as cougar, panther, or puma.  Body coloration can range from tan to gray and cubs are usually covered with blackish brown spots.
  • Adult males may be more than 8 feet long (from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail), and can weigh between 130 and 150 pounds. Adult females can be 7 feet long and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds.
  • Generally speaking, mountain lions can be found wherever deer are present. Their usual habitat is steep, rocky canyons or mountainous terrain.
  • Mountain lions can be found in deserts as well as coastal forests, and from sea level to 10,000-foot elevations.
  • An adult male's home range is typically more than 100 square miles and females generally use smaller areas, approximately 20 to 60 square miles

Hiking and camping in mountain lion habitat

  • Do not hike alone. Go in groups, with adults supervising children.
  • Avoid dawn and dusk excursions.
  • Keep children close to you. Animals seem especially drawn to children.
  • Pick up small children. The mountain lion will see small children as easier prey. 
  • Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation, so give them a way to escape.
  • Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase.
  • Do not crouch down or bend over. A human standing does not resemble a mountain lion's natural prey.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
  • Fight back if attacked. Mountain lions usually try to bite the head or neck; try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.

Remember: You are responsible for your safety and for the safety of those around you.