Mountain lion vs Cougarn Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Mountain lion vs Cougar

The mountain lions are the mountain cat and puma species belonging to the animal kingdom. The name mountain lion is very prevalent throughout the western United States. It is still the same cat-like a puma concolor. They have sharp claws and large paws built with muscular hind legs. They are present in mountainous deserts and are dispersed from the Southern Andes, North and South America to Canada. The Florida panther is considered a subspecies of mountain lion.

The mountain lions feed on elk, raccoon, bighorn sheep and various deer species. However, hunting a large prey is a little risky for mountain lions. The tail length of mountain lions is about 68 to 96 centimeters. They are territorial animals with a solitary nature. The weight of adult males is more than the adult females. However, the mountain lion populations are declining due to habitat destruction. 

On the other hand, the cougars are big cats with erect ears and round heads also called the puma concolor. The Puma concolor consists of both cougar and puma. The puma concolor is known to present in the Florida panhandle, Chile, California, Brazil, Argentina, and other South American countries. The cougars tend to live in varied habitats, such as warmer climates. They have adapted themselves to many varied habitats, such as all kinds of forests and lowlands. The cougar comes from the South American Indian word cuguacuarana. The cougars possess slightly dark hair covering the back of their bodies. The Florida panthers are still considered the cougar subspecies.

 The male cougars weigh between 115 and 220 pounds, while female cougars can weigh only up to 140 pounds. When cougars attack, they use their unique characteristic neck bite feature. They are called the mountain screamer species. However, the South American cougars feed on wild camelids, such as alpaca, llama, etc. Attacking the cougar is a little risky though they it is not aggressive. Out of many cougar species, only three are considered endangered cougar species.

Mountain lion vs cougar

 Although both cougars and mountain lions are similar, a few differences also exist. Both cougar and mountain lion are the same species; the only difference is the different names given by people. Both species have a flexible spine, enabling them to jump over various prey. Their primary prey includes various deer species and small animals, such as raccoons, rabbits, etc. This blog post provides many exciting facts and information about cougar vs mountain lion to clear people’s minds, as mentioned below;

Mountain lion


  • The mountain lions possess a large, sleek body, with long heavy legs and a small head. There are giant feet with curved, sharp retractile claws. In addition to it, they have a highly-arched forehead and a broad skull. They also possess massive teeth specially designed for tearing and stabbing. 
  • The cougars possess a cat-like appearance and are reddish-tan to gray. There is a long tail that is one third of its total body length. There are also black-colored markings on the face, a tail tip, and ears. In addition to it, the chest and muzzle are white colored.  
  • The mountain lions are present in various countries worldwide, including Argentina, Northern British Colombia, and wherever deer are present. They are also native to multiple habitats, such as swamps, deserts, prairies, forests, mountainous terrain, or steep, rocky canyons. They possess the most extensive range of terrestrial mammals in the western hemisphere. 
  • The cougars are also present in various countries worldwide, including South America, Patagonia, Northwestern Canada, California and Washington. They are also native to habitats such as lowland tropical forests, dry brush country, montane coniferous forests, swamps, grasslands, etc. They are the most widely distributed land mammals in the western hemisphere. 
  • The adult male mountain lions vary in weight and size, and the males are about 1/3 times larger than the female mountain lions. Furthermore, the male mountain lion can be more than eight feet long, weighing between 135 and 175 pounds. However, the female mountain lion can be up to seven feet long and weighs about 90 to 105 pounds. 
  • The adult cougars possess a body length of about 42 to 54 inches. The tail is about three feet long. In addition to it, the adult female cougar weighs up to 120 pounds. In contrast, the male cougar weigh approximately 200 pounds. They are considered the most significant members of the cat family in Washington. They measure about 7 to 8 feet from the nose to the tail tip. 
  • The mountain lions require a proper diet to survive on the earth’s surface. Although these are opportunistic hunter species, hunting alone from dusk to dawn, their primary diet is the deer. They kill deer once a week. These species also feed on porcupines, feral hogs, raccoons, elk, rodents, and coyotes. 
  • The cougars also need proper food to survive, like all other animals on the earth’s surface. Although the cougars eat smaller animals, such as raccoons, porcupines, and coyotes, they prey on deer. These animal species usually hunt during the gloaming hours of dawn and dusk and at night. 
  • The mountain lions use screams, purrs, yowls, growls, and low-pitched hisses. The young mountain lion calls their mother using loud, chirping whistles. An essential bonding between young and mother is touch. However, scent marking is essential in advertising willingness to mate and territory boundaries. 
  • The cougars also use various sounds to communicate with each other, including screams, yowls, growls, purrs, and low-pitched hisses. They scream to show mating activities at night. It is also believed that is a symbol of their heat cycle. The male cougar usually screams, showing rivalry for the females’ attention. 
  • The mountain lions are considered solitary, territorial and secretive cats. These animal species are most active at dusk and dawn, hence are called crepuscular, meaning restless hunter. The males hunt for prey to get rid of their hunger, while females need food to feed their kittens.  
  • The cougars are considered reclusive and elusive, avoiding contact with humans at any cost. These animals usually run on seeing human beings. However, they are sometimes dangerous to humans, and their signs include scratches, scat, tracks, and partially buried prey. 
  • Although mountain lions can balance the top speed for a shorter period of time, they have can maintain the speed of about 10 miles per hour for long-distance sprints. The maximum running speed of these animals is 50 miles per hour. 
  • The cougars possess strong hind legs and large paws, giving them great running and leaping ability. These creatures can run at speeds of about 40 to 50 miles per hour and jump as high as 18 feet. Despite all this, they are best adapted for short rather than long chases. 
  • The mountain lions live for a specific time, after which they die. For example, they can live for as long as ten years in the wild. In contrast, these species can live for a maximum of 21 years in captivity, and the average lifespan is 8 to 13 years. 
  • The cougars also live for a specific time, like other species on the earth’s surface. For example, they can live for about 8 to 13 years in the wild. In addition to it, the average lifespan recorded in captivity is about twenty years. 
  • Many animals prey on mountain lions to meet their survival needs. Humans and grizzly bears are the primary predators of these giant creatures. However, the wolf somehow has a more substantial influence on the mountain lion and can defeat it quickly. 
  • There are many predators of cougars on the earth’s surface. They are preyed on by various animals, including wolves and bears. Their fight with bears and wolves is usually for food. They are solitary creatures for most of their lives. They don’t have natural enemies. 
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed mountain lions as the species of least concern. However, the California mountain lion is considered a specially protected species. 
  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, cougars are also considered the species of most minor concern, like mountain lions. None of these species is considered endangered in the world. 


Sometimes people get confused and raise questions about the mountain lions vs cougars to clear their minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those questions are as mentioned below;

Is a mountain lion the same as a cougar?

The mountain lion also called puma, cougar, catamount, or panther, is a large species found in the Americas. The mountain lions are more significant than the cougars. The encounter of humans with these species is rare; hence the risks are small. 


Various animals and plants are present throughout the world; all possessing unique identification features discriminating against them. The same is the case with the mountain lion and cougar. Although both look similar, the difference also exists. But people still confuse them. There is no need to worry as this blog post provides exciting facts and information about these creatures to clear people’s minds. It will help greatly if you read this article with great care and pay full attention. 

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