Mountain lions are known by a variety of different names, including puma, cougar and panther. A highly adaptable species, mountain lions are found from northern Canada to the southern reaches of South America. Over this range, mountain lions inhabit forests, prairies, deserts and even swamps.
Mountain lions are wary creatures that usually flee from humans. To protect themselves from danger, they utilize a secluded spot such as a tangled thicket or large rock crevice. According to the San Diego Zoo, mountain lions live in home ranges that may be as large as 125 square miles. However, they often share portions of their range with other mountain lions. Baby mountain lions are born with spotted coats, which likely serve to help the small cats hide from potential predators. The young stay with their mothers for about 12 to 18 months.
Despite the fact that large males may exceed 150 pounds in weight, the San Diego Zoo explains that scientists consider the puma a small cat, as it purrs rather than roars. Mountain lions are primarily ambush hunters that use their powerful legs to help them leap at passing prey and knock it off balance. Mountain lions may consume large animals, such as deer or antelope, as well as small animals, such as rabbits or birds.