Mountain Lion Info
Several subspecies, two endangered: Felis concolor coryi (Florida) and F.c. cougar (northeastern North America).
Throughout North and South America from southern Canada to Patagonia.
Until the late 1980s, as many as 32 subspecies were recorded; however, a recent genetic study of mitochondrial DNA found many of these are too similar to be recognized as distinct at a molecular level. Following the research, the canonical Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.) recognizes six subspecies, five of which are solely found in Latin America:
1. Argentine cougar (Puma concolor cabrerae) Pocock, 1940:includes the previous subspecies and synonyms hudsonii and puma
2. Costa Rican cougar (P. c. costaricensis) Merriam, 1901
3. Eastern South American cougar (P. c. anthonyi) Nelson and Goldman, 1931:includes the previous subspecies and synonyms acrocodia, borbensis, capricornensis, concolor, greeni, and nigra
4. North American cougar (P. c. couguar) Kerr, 1792:includes the previous subspecies and synonyms arundivaga, aztecus, browni, californica, floridana, hippolestes, improcera, kaibabensis, mayensis, missoulensis, olympus, oregonensis, schorgeri, stanleyana, vancouverensis, and youngi
5. Northern South American cougar (P. c. concolor) Linnaeus, 1771:includes the previous subspecies and synonyms bangsi, incarum, osgoodi, soasoaranna, sussuarana, soderstromii, suçuaçuara, and wavula
6.Southern South American cougar (P. c. puma) Molina, 1782:includes the previous subspecies and synonyms araucanus, concolor, patagonica, pearsoni, and puma
7. Florida panther (P. c. coryi)
The status of the Florida panther remains uncertain. It is still regularly listed as subspecies P. c. coryi in research works, including those directly concerned with its conservation.Culver et al. noted low microsatellite variation in the Florida panther, possibly due to inbreeding responding to the research, one conservation team suggests, "the degree to which the scientific community has accepted the results of Culver et al. and the proposed change in taxonomy is not resolved at this time.
Mountain lions are carnivores (meat eaters) and
generally hunt at dawn and dusk. Still, they are
active by day in areas undisturbed by man.
Like other cats, the mountain lion stalks its prey, sprinting after it if it attempts to flee. Then, pouncing on the animal's back with a powerful leap that knocks it to the ground, the mountain lion kills its prey with a single bite to the nape of the neck.
Mountain lions have large hunting territories, and they eat most kinds of animals. Throughout their range, however, deer is their principal food. In the absence of deer, they eat anything available, including cattle and other domestic livestock.
Mountain lions can run very fast over short distances, but they tire quickly. If an animal survives a mountain lion's first attack, it generally escapes. Mountain lions rarely share hunting territories and usually avoid each other, but they make no attempt to defend their own territories or take over those of others.
Mountain lions are found in habitats as diverse as
the cold, northern woods of Canada, the rocky,
western country of the United States, and the
tropical rainforests of Brazil. In Argentina, they
live in the pampas, and their range extends to the
southernmost tip of South America.
Instead of occupying a permanent den, mountain lions rest and find shelter in caves, among rocky outcrops, and in dense vegetation. They generally migrate from the mountains in winter to follow deer and other prey.
The territories of male mountain lions may overlap
those of females, enabling the males to detect when
the females are ready to mate.
During a 14-day period of mating, a male and female will break their normally solitary habits to hunt together and sleep next to each other. The female later gives birth to two to six kittens in a carefully hidden den, located between rocks or in a cave.
Blind at birth, the kittens have spotted coats until they are six months old. They begin to take meat provided by their mother at six weeks, while they are still suckling. Although they can hunt for themselves after nine months, they usually remain with their mother for two years. The cubs then leave her and may stay together for several months before wandering off to establish territories of their own.
Once common across the western hemisphere, the mountain lion has been eradicated in many areas, and its survival is threatened.
In some areas, mountain lions were wiped out in an attempt to protect deer populations. But eliminating a natural predator disrupted the balance of the environment. Consequently, the deer multiplied rapidly, and their habitat was unable to support the large population.
• Mountain lion tracks appear round, are approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter, and the claw marks usually are not visible.
• Droppings are 4 to 6 inches in length and 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter, cylindrical, and blunt on the ends. Droppings often have hair and bone fragments visible. They are often covered with dirt.
• Cached prey items are a sign that a lion has been in the area and may return again to feed on the cached food.
• Lions often leave vertical claw marks on trees, stumps, or fence posts, 4 to 8 feet above the ground.
• Lions make a variety of calls or vocalizations. They include: hiss, purr, mew, growl, yowl, chirp and cry.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A MOUNTAIN LION?
Mountain lions are generally calm, quiet, and elusive. They tend to live in remote, primitive country with plentiful deer and adequate cover. Such conditions exist in mountain subdivisions, urban fringes, and open spaces. Recently, the number of mountain lion/human interactions has increased. This increase is likely due to a variety of reasons, such as:
There's been very little research on how to avoid mountain lion attacks. But mountain lion attacks that have occurred are being analyzed in the hope that some crucial questions can be answered: Did the victim do something to iandvertently provoke an attack? What should a person who is approached by a mountain lion do -- or not do?
The mountain lion is renowned for its remarkable power, stamina, and agility. It can easily cover 23 ft. in a single bound, and a leap of twice this distance has been recorded.
Often taking cover in the dense foliage of a tree, a mountain lion can leap up to a height of 18ft to land in the branches. It may then climb upward, looking for a suitable Vantage point. it can drop 65 ft to the ground without injuring itself.
The FWC is interested in photos of The Florida Panthers or their tracks.
Anyone lucky enough to capture this large cat on camera
is encouraged to submit the picture and sighting location to http://www.MyFWC.com/PantherSightings
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