From the Grand Canyon to the Meteor Crater, Arizona is home to various natural wonders. The presence of a variety of landscapes makes Arizona one of the best habitats for various wildlife. One such animal living in the state is the Mountain lion.
Yes, You read it right. Mountain lions are currently found throughout the state of Arizona.
While encounters with these creatures are rare, they can potentially harm humans. Moreover, as Arizona’s diverse landscapes which are home to these creatures attract many people for outdoor activities, it is important to know and understand the animal’s behavior.
Below I’ve explained all the things you need to know about mountain lions in Arizona, their physical characteristics, diet, and legalities related to hunting and killing of these animals.
Do Mountain Lions Live in Arizona?
Yes, Mountain lions live in Arizona. These majestic creatures are native to the state and are found in various regions including mountainous areas, forests, and deserts. As these creatures are elusive and solitary, they are primarily active during dawn and dusk.
While mountain lions avoid contact with humans, it is important to be aware of their presence especially if you are in an area where these cougars are known to live.
Additionally, follow the guidelines and precautions provided by local and state authorities like the Arizona Game and Fish Department which is responsible to monitor and implement initiatives for the conservation of Mountain lions in the state.
Where Are Mountain Lions Found in Arizona?
Mountain lions are known to be versatile and are capable to live in a wide range of habitats from deserts to mountains. As Arizona is home to various habitats, the state acts as one of the best habitats for these creatures to live and thrive.
While found throughout the state, Mountain lions are most common in rocky or mountainous terrain. Some of these areas include Mogollon Rim, the Santa Catalina Mountains, and the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix.
How Many Mountain Lions Live in Arizona?
Arizona has a stable and thriving population of mountain lions. It is one of the very few states in the U.S., to have a sizable number of mountain lions.
While it is difficult to estimate the exact population of mountain lions, the state department conducts research and continuously monitors the cougar population.
As per Arizona Game and Fish Department, it is estimated that there are about 2000-2700 mountain lions living in the state of Arizona. It is important to note that based on the type of habitat, prey available the population size of these creatures may vary.
While a stable and growing population of mountain lions is a good result, it is also important to preserve the population of prey.
This is why the Arizona Game and Fish Department sets and regulates the hunting of these creatures to conserve and manage the mountain lion population in the state. Additionally, these programs also help minimize conflicts between humans and these carnivores.
How Big Are Arizona Mountain Lions?
While a wildlife’s size depends on numerous factors like genetics, habitat, time of year, and availability of prey/food, Mountain lions in Arizona have size like other mountain lions found across the country.
Adult males are eight feet long weighing anywhere between 135 to 175 pounds and adult females are smaller about seven feet long weighing between 90 to 105 pounds. With these sizes, it becomes difficult for a human to fight them off if the case arises.
Compared to their counterparts in the big cat family like tigers and lions, mountain lions are smaller. However, these creatures are still a threat to human life though rare, and for livestock as well.
Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions IN US
Are Mountain Lions A Problem in Arizona?
While Mountain lions rarely attack humans, there have been a few conflicts with people in the past and in the present too.
Due to urban sprawl, these creatures have now been forced out from their habitat into cities and urban areas with high human populations.
As mountain lions are opportunist hunters, they will target and eat animals based on locality. Because of living near humans, these predators hunt and kill livestock which results in conflicts with humans.
These conflicts mostly occur when mountain lions become more accustomed to human presence, especially in parks, washes, corridors, and other natural areas which were built to connect the wild.
Always follow state precautions to avoid and discourage mountain lions’ presence in your locality which includes storing food sources inside the house, fencing the property, trimming the bushes, etc.
What Eats Mountain Lions in Arizona?
Mountain lions (Puma concolor) in Arizona don’t have natural predators. Their size, strength, and solitary nature however make them one of the apex predators of the jungle. However, young mountain lions are sometimes in danger from other predators like bears, wolves, or other mountain lions.
Additionally, due to human development and activities like illegal poaching, even humans prove to be a threat to mountain lions. As adult mountain lions are at the top of the food chain, they are well adapted to hunting and evading threats from humans.
What Is the Largest Mountain Lion Killed in Arizona?
While there are many different opinions on the largest mountain killed in Arizona, the one that most agree with is a puma killed in 1917 by a predator hunter or also known as a sport hunting human. The dead cat weighed about 276 pounds without intestines. Compared to other reports, this one was certified by the U.S. Biological Survey.
Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lion In California
Is It Illegal to Shoot a Mountain Lion in Arizona?
Yes. It is illegal to shoot a mountain lion in Arizona without a valid permit and license. An exception to this includes shooting for self-defense and for livestock. As per Arizona Game and Fish Department, mountain lions are classified as big game.
Moreover, it is also illegal to own a living mountain lion without the department’s approval. The state also organizes hunting at a few fixed times in order to control the creatures as well as the prey population.
Therefore, if you find a mountain lion in your area becoming a safety threat, report it to the Arizona Game and Fish Department and they’ll take relevant actions.
And that was everything you need to know about the Mountain lions in Arizona. I hope this article was informative and your queries were answered.
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I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.