Mountain lion and cougar are interchangeable terms for the same animal, which is known to scientists as Puma concolor. Many other common names are also applied to these cats, such as puma and panther. Historically, mountain lions were found in areas ranging from Canada to Argentina, but they have been extirpated in most of these areas and are currently only present in remote, mountainous regions.
Mountain lions need places to hide, such as dense vegetation or rock crevices, and are solitary animals that hunt birds and mammals. White tailed deer, elk and reindeer are especially important to their diet. Mountain lions have been known to consume smaller animals, such as rabbits and mice, and occasionally kill and eat domestic animals and livestock. They are usually shy and avoid contact with humans, but attacks have occurred in isolated cases.
Mountain lions do not fear many predators but may fall victim to attacks from other mountain lions, bears or wolves. These attacks are more common if they fall ill or become injured. Young mountain lions are at greater risk to other predators. Mountain lion mothers care for their young for approximately one year. During this time, mothers protect and feed their young and teach them how to hunt.