In this article, we’ll answer the question:
“Are mountain lions dangerous?”
First, you’ll find a short summary about the dangerousness of mountain lions in general, then get specific answers about these mammals like are mountain lions aggressive, will they bite, do mountain lions eat humans, etc.
Mountain lions are large cat of the subfamily Felinae in the suborder Feliformia. A mountain lion goes by many names, including puma, cougar, catamount, panther, and painter.
Are Mountain Lions Dangerous?
Mountain lions are dangerous to humans and other animals because they are vicious predators that have excellent hunting skills, aided by sharp claws and a powerful bite. A single bite from a mountain lion on the throat might be fatal to humans and large prey.
While attacks on humans by mountain lions are relatively rare, they do happen. There have been several documented cases of mountain lions attacking and killing people. For example, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a list of mountain lion human attacks by date, location, type, county, and victim age.
Are Mountain Lions Aggressive?
Mountain lions are not aggressive to humans in the wild and typically display shyness. However, aggressive behavior in a mountain lion is a cue that this animal may attack a human.
The Mountain Lion Foundation reports, “Human encounters with mountain lions are rare and the risk of an attack is infinitely small.” Most reported mountain lion attacks involve sick or injured mountain lions or an instance where the animal is acting defensively for its young or to protect its food supply.
Mountain lions are mainly nocturnal animals that prefer to hunt at night. Therefore, you can often avoid aggressive behavior from a mountain lion by hiking or traveling through the woods or a mountain lion’s territory during the day.
Do Mountain Lions Bite?
Mountain lions do bite and the most common attack is a bite to the head or neck. A mountain lion bites these areas to go for a direct kill of the prey whether it be a human or wild animal.
Mountain lions are potent predators with sharp teeth and razor-sharp claws that can do significant damage in an attack.
Do Mountain Lions Attack Humans?
Mountain lions rarely attack humans and encountering a mountain lion in the wild is not common. Mountain lions are mostly shy around people and avoid human contact as much as possible.
However, there are reports of mountain lions attacking humans each year. Attacks often occur when humans come across mountain lion cubs or other vulnerable members of the pride or if a mountain lion feels threatened or cornered. Another reason for a mountain lion attack is a sick or injured mountain lion that is acting out of characteristics of its species.
If you discover a mountain lion in the wilderness, try to calm down and back away slowly while maintaining eye contact. If the mountain lion does attack, fight back with whatever you have available.
Do Mountain Lions Eat Humans?
Mountain lions do not eat humans and it would be considered abnormal behavior for a mountain lion to eat a person. These carnivores prefer to feed on small rodents and deer for their diet.
Are Mountain Lions Friendly?
You can visit our other guide about are mountain lions friendly to find out how nice these mammals can be to people in the wild and at a zoo.
Mountain Lion Dangerous & Aggressive Summary
You now know the answer to the question about are mountain lions dangerous.
As you discovered in this guide, mountain lions do not eat humans or attack people unless they feel threatened. Therefore, are mountain lions aggressive or not depends on if these mammals are being encroached upon by people in nature or in captivity.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.