The Mountain Lion’s Social Behavior (Debunking common misconceptions!)

Mountain lions are known to be solitary animals — the polar opposite of lions who live in packs. Mountain lions are often seen traveling the prairies alone and mostly during dusk or dawn. 

But did you know that there have been recent studies that show mountain lions might be more social than we think? 

According to National Geographic, mountain lions have recently been observed to have an established social hierarchy that revolves around sharing food.  With that, mountain lions can be more social than we think despite not forming packs or prides. 

Curious, now? Then, continue scrolling through this article as Floofmania discusses everything you need to know about mountain lions’ social behavior! 

Mountain lion lying in a bed of dry leaves next to a rocky wall.

Do Mountain Lions Form Packs Or Prides?

According to the National Park Service, mountain lions are solitary animals that do not form pride or packs and are usually seen traveling alone. 

This behavior is the complete opposite of lions! Unlike mountain lions who do not have packs, lions are known for their established and structured social groups. 

Fact: Mountain lions and lions are often mistaken as the same species, but they are not! Lions are native to Africa while mountain lions are spread throughout South and North America. And more interestingly, did you know that mountain lions don't roar? That's another difference from African lions whose roars can be heard for up to five miles. 

Going back, mountain lions are most active during dusk and dawn. It’s because their common prey, such as deer, is active at that time. Also, mountain lions prefer to avoid us and human activities at all costs. 

Fact: During the pandemic lockdown, mountain lions moved less. And John Benson, an assistant professor of vertebrate ecology at Nebraska, concluded that it makes sense because they don't have to avoid humans and detour all the time

So now, does this behavior make mountain lions less social? Let’s find out! 

Mountain lion walking in the snow.

Are Mountain Lions At All Social Animals?

There has been a popular belief that mountain lions are not social animals, and do not interact with other mountain lions except when mating or raising cubs. 

But according to a new study, mountain lions have an established and rich hierarchical society! And this society heavily revolves around sharing food. These findings debunk many of the preconceptions that people previously believed about mountain lions. 

Additionally, this new study is both amazing and wholesome because the researcher observed two adult female mountain lions sharing an elk carcass one of them hunted. 

And, it’s not considered a fluke or coincidence because both female cougars stayed together for a whole day and a half! That’s a big deal considering that both of them are not even related to one another.

To make it short, mountain lions are not the most social animals out there, but they are more social than we thought

Even though they do not travel in packs or prides, it doesn’t mean that they are completely detached from other mountain lions. 

At What Point Do Mountain Lions Meet Each Other?

Aside from mountain lions meeting to share food, they also meet each other during the mating period. Mountain lions’ mating period can happen at any time of the year. But, when it comes to giving birth, female cougars usually give birth between May and October. 

Plus, you can also spot mountain lions traveling together when the female mountain lion is still taking care of her cubs. You will learn more about the mountain lion family dynamics when we discuss it in the next paragraphs! 

Mountain lion sleeping in a cave.

How Do Juvenile Mountain Lions Get Along?

Juvenile mountain lions get along well, and maybe it is because of their shared curiosity and playfulness! And similar to other young animals, they often bond through play fighting, running, eating, and of course, napping together. 

You can check this video of two mountain lion cubs (named Lewis and Clark) running on the green fields of the Columbus Zoo! You can see their cute little legs as they playfully chase the camera. 

Fact: Firefighters rescued Lewis and Clark during a forest fire somewhere near Montana. And now, both cubs are taken care of at Columbus Zoo. 

How Long Does The Mountain Lion Family Stay Together?

The mountain lion family is usually composed of a female mountain lion and its kittens. The male mountain lion immediately leaves after the mating season and does not participate in raising the cubs. 

Meanwhile, a female mountain lion and her cubs stay together until the cub is around 1 to 2 years old! During this period, the mother will protect her cubs from dangerous predators and provide them with food. 

The female also teaches her cubs some crucial survival skills like hunting. A cub leaves its mother’s den once it already knows how to hunt and defend itself on its own. 

Are Mountain Lions Playful?

Mountain lions are indeed playful, curious, and intelligent at the same time. Plus, they can even show their playful nature despite being alone! 

You can check this video below to watch an adorable mountain lion playing with a swing: 

And, you can also take a look at this mountain lion who’s having fun rolling in the leaves while purring! 

Even though they may look intimidating and scary at times, these feline animals still know how to have fun! 

Are Mountain Lions Curious?

Yes, mountain lions are also curious animals! That’s why, when hiking near their territories, you always have to stay vigilant. Even though mountain lions normally try to avoid us, some of them can still get curious, resulting in an unexpected approach. 

Plus, despite mountain lions looking cute and fluffy, their curiosity is not something to be considered adorable all the time. They might stalk you to identify whether you are prey or not.  

Juvenile mountain lion looking at the ground with green plants around.

Want To Know More About Mountain Lions? Check These Other Floofmania Articles About Them! 

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