When you are out in cougar country, be aware that the mountain lion is crepuscular and nocturnal. It is important to have a safe place to sleep and avoid being too close to places where you might be surprised by this animal. This includes sleeping in tents or campers. You should also be careful not to be too close to areas where you might be cooking.
Cougars, also known as panthers, have a wide range of habitats and can be found in mountain ranges, deserts, grasslands and deciduous woodlands. They can be seen at any time of the day, but they are most active in the early morning and twilight hours and at night.
They tend to be solitary predators and are not social hunters like the coyote. A new study led by Panthera Teton Cougar Project (TCP) researchers in Yellowstone is shedding light on puma sleeping habits, including where they choose to catnap and with whom.
TCP researchers studied the bedding sites of nearly 600 cougars throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The cats were tracked with GPS collars, and each site was carefully examined. Interestingly, the research found that although most carnivores are solitary, cougars often share their bed sites with other members of their guild.
Cougars are large mammals that can live up to 20 years in the wild or in captivity. They can be identified by their long tail that is about a third of their body length. They have a gray to reddish-tan color and have black markings on the face, ears and tail. They can jump upward 18 feet from a sitting position and have the ability to run 40 feet horizontally.