Skip to main content - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion

North Dakota Game Species

Fact Sheet
Scientific Name Puma concolor
General Description Mountain lions have a typical cat physique, with a short nose and a long sleek body. Their hind legs are longer than their front legs. They have a long tail (nearly as long as the body) that is a similar diameter throughout with a black tip. Mountain lions are tan to light brown with a lighter chin, chest and belly. Their ears are round and set widely apart on their head. Additionally, mountain lion kittens are born with black spots that are almost completely faded by the time they reach age 1.
Tracks Track Front– 3" L, 3-1/2" W Rear– 3" L, 3" W Walking stride: 19" - 32"
Total Length 60-108 inches
Weight 75-170 pounds
Habitat Mountain lions inhabit the badlands and Missouri River breaks regions of North Dakota. However, because they are capable of traveling great distances, they have turned up in all parts of North Dakota. The main habitat requirement for mountain lions is stalking cover to successfully hunt prey. Stalking cover can be in the form of trees, brush or rugged topography.
Breeding Season Can breed anytime of the year, but peak activity occurs February-March.
Gestation Period 92 days
Litter Size 1-5 (average 2-3)
Social Aspects Solitary, except when breeding or rearing young.
Status There is a stable mountain lion population in western North Dakota, where there is a limited hunting season.
Food Habits Mountain lions are strictly carnivorous with deer and elk comprising most of their diet. Additional prey includes bighorn sheep, porcupines, rabbits and turkeys. Although not common, mountain lions are known to kill livestock.
Fun Facts Mountain lions are also known as cougars, pumas and Florida panthers. There has never been a scientifically documented case of a melanistic mountain lion. In other words, a black mountain lion has never been trapped, shot, killed by an automobile, photographed or bred in a zoo in recorded history. However, many mountain lion sightings in North Dakota and other states are of "black" mountain lions.

Other Information

Mountain Lion Brochure

Status of Mountain Lion Management in North Dakota

Mountain Lion Track Identification Video

Mountain Lion Track Identification (pdf)