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Do adult Mountain Lions travel in packs of two or three?

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Rien V asked:

I was walking this morning at around 4:45a.m. in a residential street. and in one of the neighbors yards there were four deer grazing. I heard a growl and at the same time the deer bolted. This is not a rare occurrance I live in Humboldt County in a part of town bordered by country, redwoods, farms etc..last year I came upon a black female and at least one cub maybe two. Because I grew up on 12 acres of Redwoods on a farm I’m used to wildlife and track bear, mountain lions etc.. However; I’ve never seen more than one adult in an area and there were at least two. The biggest one was sitting on it’s haunches and was easily 200lbs. I had my very weak flashlight and half of a binnocular that’s very old. But I’m very sure they were mountain lions. I just want to be totally sure. I think I should call animal control because two or three adults running together doesn’t sound right to me. Any input?

5 comments to “Do adult Mountain Lions travel in packs of two or three?”

  1. Mountain lions are solitary animals as adults. The only exceptions would be brief encounters during mating season, and younger males after their mother has abandoned them. But established adults are typically recognized as being solitary animals.
    They’re also not black. I’ve never seen a Puma, Mountain Lion, Florida Panther, etc., that is any darker than a grayish brown - never black.
    Are you sure it wasn’t a black bear?

  2. A 200 pound mountain lion is unusual to see unless you are in deer country. Most cats vary from 90 females to 150 pound males. At this time of year a female would still be with her half grown kittens(they’d be about 5 months old and weigh about 35 pounds). So seeing more than one roaming around is normal.
    The lion’s scientific name, Felis concolor, means “cat of one color.” There have been reports that say they saw a black mountain lion but it has never been confirmed. Some lions do come in a blue phase but hardly what one would call black. If it were me, I would stake out the place and have a camcorder handy.
    As for calling animal control, why would you want to do that? Everytime fish and game or animal control come out, the animal suffers and many times dies due to interference with nature. This cat has been in your area for a long time, has mated and had kittens. Have you had any reports of her interacting with humans? If you are in deer country, she has no need to scavenge around people and will keep to her secretive ways.

  3. Mountain lions or cougars as they are known in western Canada. Don’t normally travel or hunt in packs. They live basically alone. Getting together to mate then split again. The female may have one or two kittens and will allow a female kitten to stay close to her for up to two years. On the other hand young males are pushed out of moms territory at a year of age or shortly there after.
    The young toms face a rough go of it setting up a new territory older toms will drive them off or even kill them. These big cats prefer to be left alone they will come into populated areas from time to time if pushed off they home range or in lean times of food and water.
    In general they are pretty harmless unless provoked sick or hungry. They attack from behind and above if possible usually going for the neck and throat. But will use their hind lags and claws to open their prey up.
    If one is attacked or confronted by one you should make yourself look as large as possible and make plenty of noise. Do not run this will trigger the cat to pursue and attack. Do not turn your back on the cat maintain contact with it and do your best to let it know your not the meal it wants. And advise your local CO of the cats location and what happened.

  4. Adult mountain lions are territorial and often fight each other the same way that domestic cats get into squabbles. Its almost impossible to find two adults traveling together, but it is possible that two adults crossed paths and got into a squabble with each other. Cats growl at each other when they are posturing before a fight, so maybe that’s what happened?

  5. In June of last year, 2009, I took 7 young men into a National Forest on the Southern border of Colorado at one of my favorite hiking/camping locations for a few days in the wilderness. On one of the days of our visit we climbed out of a valley starting from our 9.6k base camp elevation and ending on a 12k plateau overlooking the valley below. My 22 year old son crested the top of the 12k plateau first. The next two closest in our group were about 300 yards behind him climbing up towards him. As Travis stepped onto the plateau he sighted 2 adult mountain lions to his right a few hundred yards away. He lifted his video camera and just started to film when he noticed movement in his peripheral vision to his left. The last thing heard on his abrupt recording was “Oh Shoot” (OK the other word but I don’t know who my audience is here). As he turned his head and turned off the camera he saw 4 more adult lions charging right for him. These were also a couple hundred yards away, but advancing upon him fast. He described their speed like the footage you might see of a cheetah hunting a gazelle on the plains of Africa. They were intent on getting to him very quickly. He ran. Yes, I know that is not the right thing to do, but in this case I believe it may very well have saved him from an ugly fate. Since he was already at the edge of a 15ft steep cliff leading down to a less steep grassy slope he bounded down the cliff part slightly spraining an ankle in the process. Once he descended the grassy slope about another 30 or 40 feet he looked back up to see all 6 mountain lions perched atop the 15ft wall looking down at him. What I believe stopped the lions from coming after him is their sighting of the rest of us down the grassy slope now a couple hundred yards away. We regrouped a few hundred yards down the slope, and decided after quite a lot of debate that we would advance back up the hill to take a closer look. We climbed to within about 150yds from the top and saw the lions moving about watching us. Finally, we determined it best to let them have the summit on this day. As an afterthought I now wish we had gone up anyway. I believe with all of us making lots of noise and moving up the hill they would have back off from the edge and moved far away on the plateau above giving us a better opportunity to observe, film, and photograph them. The only footage we got was about 3 seconds of Travis’ footage of the two lions. They are so small in the video that they look like tan blurry things, but still you can see them starting on the move towards Travis. So, I know that some mountain lions do travel in packs.

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