Q:

How do mountain lion cubs behave?

A:

Quick Answer

Mountain lion cub behavior is to depend completely on the mother for the first three months of life, until the weaning process is complete. After this, they begin leaving the den with the mother to visit kill sites, later hunting small prey on their own at about six months of age.

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Full Answer

During the first few weeks of life, mountain lion cubs nurse to gain weight. As they mature, their ears and eyes open for the first time. The kittens begin ventures progressively further from the den to hunt as they age. At about 13 to 24 months of age, the cubs set out on their own to establish a home range.

Juvenile male cougars travel hundreds of miles to find a suitable and unoccupied home range, while juvenile female cougars generally find a home range adjacent to or overlapping the home range of the mother. Juvenile cougar cubs generally face a great deal of risk, including human encounters and aggressive resident male cougars.

Though mountain lion kittens have spots that camouflage them from predators and aggressive adult male cougars until they are about 18 months old, the survival rate is just over one per litter. A mountain lion’s canine teeth, necessary for hunting and independence from the mother, appear at about 20 to 30 days of age, followed by the molars and the permanent teeth at about five months.

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