What Is the Typical Habitat of a Mountain Lion?

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Mountain lions live in many diverse habitats, but their typical habitats include a mix of rocks, terrain and vegetation that allows them to stalk their prey. Their habitats also have to contain suitable prey, especially deer.

Mountain lions live throughout western North America and parts of South America, which includes deserts, canyons, pine forests, prairies and jungles. There may also be a population of cougars in the Florida Everglades. Suitable cover is the primary requirement of their habitats. This is because mountain lions are ambush predators, which means they stalk their prey until they can get close to it and take it by surprise. As solitary creatures, females also rely on thick cover to protect them as they give birth and to keep their kittens safe when they hunt.

However, cougars do tend to prefer habitats with the right mix of cover. Too much thick vegetation makes it difficult for them to stalk their prey and allows the prey to escape more easily. They are also fairly shy creatures and generally prefer areas without much human habitation. However, cougars can become habituated to humans with enough exposure.

Cougars were once found throughout the United States, although humans hunted them to extinction in most locations east of the Mississippi River. However, their wide distribution shows that they are extremely adaptable and thrive in a variety of habitats.