What do mountain lions eat?

In this brief blog, we will address the question,”What do mountain lions eat?” We will talk about how much mountain lions eat and how they hunt down their prey. We will look at what mountain lion cubs eat and what mountain lions eat in times of scarcity. We will also discuss if mountain lions eat snakes and dead animals.

What do mountain lions eat?

Mountain lions are obligate carnivores and primarily eat deer, especially mule deer and whitetail deer and also prey on coyotes and foxes. They are as well  known to eat other animals as part of their natural diet such as bighorn sheep and elk. Mountain lions also eat other small animals such as raccoons, rabbits, porcupines and turkey.

How much do mountain lions eat?

Mountain lions eat anywhere between 20 to 30 lbs of meat in just a single meal more so if they have preyed on a big animal. Mountain lions don’t consume fresh food all the time, while they are not known to scavenge like other animals normally do, they are known to bury their catch and consume the remains for as long as 2 weeks at a time.

When mountain lions do not catch prey, especially their primary prey deer, they usually switch to consuming smaller animals such as rabbits and mice.

How do mountain lions hunt?

Mountain lions have been known to be opportunistic hunters and therefore prefer to prey on animals that are an easy catch and do not require a lot of effort in hunting down.

Mountain lions usually hide in areas that have a high coverage or in tree tops and when their prey gets close enough they pounce and ambush, killing their prey by biting their spinal cord.

Do mountain lions eat humans?

No, mountain lions do not eat humans although they can easily kill a human. Mountain lions tend to steer clear of areas where there are humans and this avoids any bad encounters. 

As such, mountain lions are not considered a threat to humans unless humans invade their territory which can result in them being aggressive.

What do mountain lion cubs eat?

Mountain lion cubs usually start by only suckling milk from their mothers like many other mammals. They drink milk for about 7 weeks and they then start to wean and can consume solid foods thereafter.

Once they have weaned, their mothers usually bring them litter to eat before they are capable of hunting on their own. 

When they become fully weaned, which is at the age of 4 to 6 months, they are capable of hunting on their own but it’s usually small prey such as rabbits and skunks. As they continue maturing and growing old, they gain hunting skills and can begin preying on bigger catches such as deer and elk.

What do mountain lions eat during times of scarcity?

When there are limited large animals as prey for mountain lions, they usually resort to eating small species of prey but this might not satisfy their hunger. Therefore, to better satisfy their hunger they will eat a variety of small prey at once.

Although mountain lions are obligate carnivores, if the situation worsens and they cannot find the smaller prey they also eat veggies and fruits. Mountain lions can consume berries, leaves, nuts, fruits and roots.

Mountain lions can switch to adapt their diet depending on what’s available at that particular period. They will scour around and find what is available to eat, even if it means hunting outside their territory. They have even been known to attack and consume small alligators.

Do mountain lions eat snakes?

Yes, mountain lions do eat snakes that are not venomous as an opportunistic meal. They can consume the entire snake and what is inside it such as eggs, mice and other foods the snake might have consumed.

As mentioned mountain lions are opportunistic hunters and so they hunt down and eat grass snakes and other regular snakes that are easy to hunt.

Do mountain lions eat dead animals?

Yes, mountain lions do eat dead animals. Although they prefer to prey and eat fresh animals in the event that there is scarcity, mountain lions will eat carrion because they require it to survive.

If you are interested in learning some facts about mountain lions, click here.

Conclusion

In this brief blog we have addressed the question,”What do mountain lions eat?” We have talked about how much mountain lions eat and how they hunt down their prey. We have looked at what mountain lion cubs eat and what mountain lions eat in times of scarcity. We have also discussed if mountain lions eat snakes and dead animals.

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