Are Mountain Lions Territorial? (Questions Answered)

Mountain lions (Puma concolor), cougars, panthers, pumas, or whatever you call them, are naturally found in North and South America.

They are very secretive animals, but we know that a good home is very important to them. However, compared to other large felines living in other parts of the world, mountain lions do things uniquely.

Do mountain lions live on their own? How big are their territories? How do they interact with other mountain lions in the wild? 

Let’s find out more about these mysterious animals. Follow along as Floofmania shows you some of these secrets that technology has helped us reveal.

Do Mountain Lions Live Alone In Their Territories?

Yes. Mountain lions prefer to live alone. They do not live with other mountain lions like African lions who like living in groups.

These felids are very solitary creatures unless it is time to mate or take care of their kittens. The kits usually stay with their mother until they are about 1 ½ to 2 years old. The father, on the other hand, does not participate in child-rearing. 

After mating with a female mountain lion, the male would leave and go back to his own business. Mountain lions are polygamous, meaning, they can have many partners in their lifetime.

During the kittens’ stay with their mother, they are protected from predators and taught important skills like hunting. There are times when the cute kittens follow their mother while hunting to observe how it is done. Surely, they are mama’s boys and girls.

How Big Is A Mountain Lion’s Territory?

A male mountain lion’s territory is known to reach up to 400 square miles. But the average area of their home range is about 100 to 150 square miles. Female mountain lions, however, have smaller home ranges at about 50 square miles

Such a large territory is important for their health and success in reproducing. The basic requirements a mountain lion needs in their home include the following:

  • Enough food (prey)
  • Source of water
  • Dense cover for hunting
  • Location for a den
  • Presence of possible partners (for males)

You might think that mountain lions are picky but these felids can survive in many different ecosystems. These can be hot deserts, moderately dense forests, or even high mountains. As long as the place ticks off the items listed above, living alone would not be much of a problem.

In the US, these are the states where they can be found:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

How Far Do Mountain Lions Travel Each Day?

A mountain lion travels up to 49 miles a day. Some were even recorded to have crossed states.

The animal roams its territory and other places, especially when looking for prey, a partner, or a new home range. It would also patrol its home range to keep guard against other predators. 

Contrary to what you may have imagined, these cats like to walk slowly when looking for or stalking their prey. Then when it is about to catch its food or for whatever need, this big cat can sprint at an impressive speed of 50 miles per hour!

Do Both Male And Female Mountain Lions Have Their Own Territories?

Male and female mountain lions usually have their own territories. However, as the males’ home ranges are larger, they tend to overlap with about 2-3 females’ but not with another male. This is also done for the possibility of mating. 

It has also been observed that the home range of a female mountain lion can also overlap another female’s, but they would mostly remain solitary and away from each other. I think we can say that they are a bit introverted.

How Do Mountain Lions Mark Their Territory?

As mentioned above, mountain lions, especially males, are territorial and do not want other mountain lions within their ranges. To address this concern, these felids have their way of making the borders they have set known to others. They use a process called scent marking.

Here are the ways they use to scent mark:

  • Making claw or scratch marks on trees 
  • Scraping the ground with their hind legs, creating a pile of dirt and leaves
  • Pooping and/or peeing on the mound of dirt and leaves

The scents released through this are pheromones or chemical signals they use to communicate with other animals.

Like other felines, these signals are known to present information about the owner, such as their identity, mating status, and health. This serves as a sign that they own the place.

Mountain lions repeat this process whenever rain falls as the scent of their markings fades away. They like making sure that their territories’ bounds are always noticed.

The Purpose Of The Mountain Lion’s Territorial Markings

Marking territories is an essential way of letting other mountain lions know that the area has been claimed. They do it to keep off unwanted guests and notify other animals of their presence.

Having a clear sign of boundaries would lessen the chances of having another mountain lion or enemy within their range. It’s like their way of saying, “This is my home. No trespassing.”

These markings can also be used to attract potential partners. As mentioned above, the scents they leave present information about the owner. So, a female mountain lion would also leave scent markings to signal that she is ready to be courted.

What Do Mountain Lions Do When They Meet Another Mountain Lion?

If the mountain lion is trespassing on another’s territory, they would most likely get into a fight. At first, they would try to intimidate each other by hissing and growling

Fun Fact: Mountain lions cannot roar like tigers and African lions. But they can purr like the house cats you see in the neighborhood. 

If neither backs off, they would then use their skills in battle to protect their home range and keep the trespasser away. Their sharp teeth and claws are very useful for that. A proper catfight I’d say.

Likewise, if a mother mountain lion with kittens meets a male mountain lion she would also do her part in protecting her young against the threat. Male mountain lions usually harm or chase away these precious kittens.

Interestingly, there are instances caught on camera where mother mountain lions with kittens share their meal with another mountain lion.

Some females would even adopt orphaned kittens and raise them as their own! How nice is that? Check out this video showing these cool interactions.

How Do Mountain Lions Protect Their Territories?

Besides marking their territories, as mentioned above, a mountain lion would make growling sounds, and use its skills in fighting to protect its territory. As there are other predators and threats in the wild, having such characteristics and behaviors is a must.

Do Mountain Lions Fight Other Mountain Lions?

Mountain lions, being solitary animals, would usually just flee and stay away from other mountain lions. However, as mentioned above, they would still fight those who try to invade their area or get on their nerves.

Why Would A Mountain Lion Venture Into Another Mountain Lion’s Territory?

Mountain lions would only venture into another lion’s territory if they are looking for a mate, hunting for food, or trying to find a new home. They may be just passing through or intentionally trying to invade another’s home range.

In addition, those looking for new territories are usually young mountain lions who have just left the care of their mothers or older displaced mountain lions.

Author: Jomvie Reyes

Jomvie has been a writer for over 10 years and animals and wildlife are among his favorite topics. Learning and writing about the vast and diverse wildlife from all over the world, is more of a hobby than a job for him. Jomvie loves to watch and observe these remarkable species up close and personal.

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