Mountain Lions!

Have you ever seen their tracks, heard one, or seen one?

I have seen their tracks many times, especially in the sand along the Colorado River. Once while camped in the forest near Apache Point we were awakened by the roar of a lion nearby! We were all scared!

They are common in the Canyon and on the Rim- but very rarely seen.


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Mountain lions, also called cougars, pumas and panthers, are about 4 feet long from head to base of tail and stand up to 2 feet tall at the shoulder. Tawny or grayish in color, lions have with dark brown tips at the ends their long tails and on the backs of their ears. Mountain lions are active mostly at night, but may also wander during the day. They are essentially solitary animals.

Adult females may be accompanied by kittens, but are normally not associated with other adult animals except for mating purposes. They are secretive and seldom seen, and are likely to disappear quickly when spotted. They eat deer, elk, bighorn sheep, rabbits, porcupines, rodents and occasionally domestic animals. Each lion makes a major kill every seven to 10 days. Mountain lions may breed at any time of the year, so litters may be born in any month. Summer is the peak period of kitten births, with litter sizes of two, three or four being the most common.

Young remain with the mother for 15 to 22 months learning the skills necessary for survival. Juvenile males tend to disperse long distances compared to relatively short dispersals for juvenile females. This time of year, they may be wandering through or setting up territories in sub-optimal habitat, so the chances of sightings are higher.

Sources: Peterson Field Guide for Mammals, the Arizona Game and Fish Department.


The activities described in this web site are potentially dangerous. Canyoneering, rock climbing, and mountaineering involve unavoidable risks including the risk of serious bodily injury and death. All forms of wilderness recreation have a higher level of risk than most ordinary activities. The owner and publisher of this web site do not assume any responsibility or liability for your safety. Those who use this information, and those who venture onto mountainous terrain, do so at their own risk. Disclaimer

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