Mountain Lions: The Great Climbing Predator

The Mountain Lion, also referred to as Pumas or Cougars, is one of North America’s top predators. They are highly feared and respected in the animal kingdom. If their blood-curdling screams and growls don’t terrify you, their adept climbing abilities might. 

This article features how skilled these cats are in climbing. Please continue reading to know why they climb and what makes them good at it.

Do Mountain Lions Climb?

Mountain lions are highly skilled climbers. They frequently dwell in trees, either sleeping or using them as a hideout from which to prey on other animals. 

A mountain lion’s body is built and shaped for climbing. They have close to perfect balance that immensely helps as they climb up trees, large boulders, or mountain cliffs. Their build and tail also give them the extraordinary grace and agility to move along steep and narrow ridges. 

Additionally, they have impressive jumping abilities thanks to their powerful long back legs and stocky build. They can jump high and in long leaps, which they use to climb higher and faster.

Are Mountain Lions Good At Climbing?

As mentioned, mountain lions are good climbers. They use their build and tail to climb various obstacles and reach good heights. Cougars developed their intense climbing abilities to adapt to their environment.

Mountain lions primarily reside in various mountain ranges in North America. They live in higher parts of the Rocky Mountains and other areas with similar geographical features. 

How High Can Mountain Lions Climb?

For a mountain lion, climbing and jumping go hand in hand. These animals jump and leap to help themselves climb swifter. With their strong back legs, stocky build, and long tail, they can jump as high as 18 feet and as far as 45 feet. 

Aside from being highly capable climbers, mountain lions are fast sprinters. They can run and sprint up to 50 miles per hour. Running helps build better momentum, which allows them to jump much higher and reach more height.

These abilities make them more agile than the average predator in the animal kingdom. Climbing fast and high allows them to cover more ground when hunting for prey.

Why Do Mountain Lions Climb Trees?

A mountain lion up a tree might be a peculiar sight for some people but rest assured that it is not weird or odd behavior at all. These predators are actually more fond of climbing trees than you might think! 

Here are a few reasons why mountain lions climb trees:

To Sleep

One of the main reasons why they climb is to find a comfortable position to sleep and rest. These big cats sleep for a good part of their day, and finding an excellent sleeping spot and position can make a lot of difference. Additionally, a large branch away from the ground is an ideal sleeping point since it means lesser insect bites.  

To Escape The Heat

You might find a mountain lion underneath a tree’s shade during a particularly scorching hot summer day. However, even the ground can grow too hot for them, so they tend to climb and rest on trees. 

They also climb to have more wind or breeze hit their bodies. 

To Shake Off Danger

Mountain lions might be top predators but they still have natural enemies to worry about, like brown bears and wolves. They can sometimes have serious skirmishes with bears or a fellow mountain lion. 

The biggest threat to them is humans. If they sense any humans present, they would climb trees in order to quickly get out of our reach. 

While mountain lions are fast sprinters, they are not built for endurance. As they try to outrun danger, these big cats would climb a tree to recover and catch their breath. 

Can Mountain Lions Climb Fences, Walls, and Other Obstacles?

A mountain lion can climb over most obstacles on its path. The animal’s incredible jumping abilities allow them to leap and climb over walls, fences, and trees. They can also climb rocky ledges, upturned trees, giant boulders, and other obstacles. 

In fact, a mountain lion can:

  • Leap up to 15-18 feet to climb a tree.
  • Climb or jump over a 12-foot fence.
  • Reach about 50 miles per hour in a sprint.

So, there is really no use in relying on wired fences or brick walls if you plan to keep these animals out of your property. In fact, it would be quite easy for them to prey on livestock kept behind these barriers. 

Most people might need to use a barn or covered pen to protect their livestock from these big cats. 

What Makes Mountain Lions So Good At Climbing?

Mountain lions have the natural characteristics and physique that allow them to live and explore steep ridges, narrow mountainsides, and wooded hills. These characteristics define them as terrifying predators that many animals fear.

  • Mountain lions also have retractable claws that give them better grip power when climbing. Their back paws are smaller than their front ones, which also helps them swim!
  • They have strong and muscular back legs that are longer than their front ones. These legs allow them to be better at jumping, which helps them to launch their body swiftly and quietly up a tree or another barrier that they’ll climb.
  • Cougars have long tails that enhance their balance when climbing and jumping. Their tails help them navigate through rough and rocky terrain. The long tail also aids the mountain lion in swiftly changing directions without falling over. 
  • A mountain lion also has prominent sharp eyes. They have excellent eyesight adapted to capture as much light as possible, which also translates to better night vision. Additionally, they have stereoscopic vision that is similar to humans, which is vital for depth perception.

This extraordinarily good vision allows them to climb and jump trees or terrains at night. It enables them to navigate and explore well in the dark and avoid creeping predators from pouncing at them with a surprise attack.

Leave a Comment