Mountain Lions

Mountain Lions are seldom seen, but ever present.
NPS Photo

Like bobcats, mountain lions (Felis concolor) maintain a secretive profile within Yellowstone. Although the cougar population numbered in the hundreds during the early 1900s, controlled hunts between 1904 and 1925 decimated the population. Today, twenty to thirty-five mountain lions reportedly inhabit the park, but sightings are rare.

As the largest member of the cat family occupying Yellowstone, male mountain lions average 140 to 160 pounds with females following closely behind at 100 pounds. Stalking their prey, the notoriously mean cats feast upon elk and deer. Occasionally, the species is known to prey upon porcupines as a dietary supplement. When winter food becomes scarce, most of Yellowstone’s mountain lions migrate to lower elevations. Those lions that are dominant over other lions in the fight for food tend to inhabit the park’s northern mountains where year-round prey is available. 

Although reports of mountain lion attacks against humans have been increasingly documented in the American West during the last decade, no reported encounters have occurred within Yellowstone.

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