Do You Know Which Feline is the 2nd Largest in the Americas?

Mountain Lion perched atop a rock in the tetons

That’s right.  It’s called mountain lion, cougar, wildcat, panther, or puma – depending on local terminology.  Although they are not an endangered species,  mountain lions are rarely seen here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

They range throughout much of the mountain west, Canada and South America.  The western mountain lion can weigh up to 200 pounds, with a massive set of front and rear legs and claws.  Their bodies stretch up to 9 feet from nose to tail tip.  They mate in spring, and kittens will stay with their mother for up to two years, at which time mom will have taught them how to hunt and survive the harsh Wyoming climate.

Mountain Lion prowling amidst rocky foliage
Mountain Lion laying in grass looking out
Feline Mountain Lion Drinking in Snake River In Snow

Unveiling the Elusive Mountain Lion: A Rare Sight in Jackson Hole

Discover the Fascinating World of Mountain Lions in Wyoming

  • Many Names, One Predator: Known as mountain lions, cougars, wildcats, panthers, or pumas, these elusive creatures go by various names depending on the region

  • Enigmatic Presence: Despite their non-endangered status, mountain lions remain rarely seen in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, making their appearances captivating moments

  • Adaptable Giants: With weights reaching up to 200 pounds and stretching up to 9 feet in length, mountain lions exhibit impressive physical attributes

  • Intriguing Sightings: Rare sightings include a mother cat with kits feeding on elk in the National Elk Refuge and a mountain lion feeding on a vehicle-killed mule deer near a grocery store

From there, the mother will then start a new family.  Given the family obligations, a female can have a territory covering 10 square miles or more.  Males cover a much larger territory, up to 30 square miles here in Wyoming.

These cats are generally reclusive, and highly adaptable to human activity.  They probably see us much more than we see them!  Mountain lions prey primarily on ungulates (moose, elk, deer, bison, and sheep), but will prey upon rodents as well.

Around Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2018, there were 4 confirmed sightings of a mother cat and her kits feeding on an elk in the National Elk Refuge.  There was also a mountain lion feeding on a vehicle-killed mule deer right across the street from a popular grocery store!  The Elk Refuge sighting is one of natural cat / predator behavior.  The other is not, as mountain lions generally only consume what they capture.

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