How many miles do mountain lions travel?

How many miles do mountain lions travel in a day? Unfortunately there isn’t much information on this topic but nonetheless I have some information. M.E. Musgrave tells us in their “Some habits of mountain lions in Arizona” (1926) published in the journal Mammal that ‘an old tom’ (old male mountain lion) covered more than 32 kilometers (19 miles) in a single night. The cat was “traveling along the top of a high ridge and crossing over the peaks or highest spotes as it reached them.”

Mountain lion travelling
Mountain lion travelling. Photo: Pixabay.
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L.L. Sweanor in “Mountain lion social organization in a desert environment” for their Master’s thesis (1990) said the two New Mexico male mountain lions traveled 5.2 and 7.9 kilometers a day. This is 3.2 miles and 4.9 miles respectively. The same researcher reported that females travelled shorter distances. Four females with cubs travelled 1.0, 1.2, 2.5 and 3.1 kilometers per day. This is 0.62, 0.74, 1.5 and 1.9 miles respectively.

R.H. Barrett, D.Choate and P. Beier in “Movement patterns of mountain lions during different behaviors” published in the journal Mammal in 1995 said that mountain lions in the Santa Ana Mountains of southern California travelled an average of 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) per day. They mostly travelled at night.

I think that this provides at least a feel for the kinds of distances that pumas travel in a day or night. Pumas travel in a punctuated manner. They move rapidly between different locations where they wait for long periods averaging 42 minutes (source: R.H. Barrett, D.Choate and P. Beier above).

I am indebted to Mel and Fiona Sunquist (Wild Cats of the World) for the references. Buy this book if you want to learn about the wild cat species. It is the best.

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