Are There Mountain Lions In Kansas? Everything You Need To Know

If you rank all the big cats according to which ones are the hardest to spot, mountain lions will probably rank number two (right under snow leopards). But they’re found in almost everywhere, you’ll say. So how can you not see them? 

Well, they’re just that good at staying hidden. Mountain lions have a lot of names but ghost cat is the nickname that suits them the best since they’re as hard to spot as ghosts.

But do they reside in Kansas? Let’s find out!

Are There Mountain Lions In Kansas?

According to Kansas Wildlife experts, there are no native mountain lions living in the state of Kansas.

Conspiracy theorists have long believed that the mountain lions are beginning to move into the Midwest. Wildlife officials don’t seem to agree. Mountain lion sightings might be more common in Kansas and Oklahoma as compared to New York, but that doesn’t mean they have an official mountain lion population.

When states like South Dakota (which has an official mountain lion population) have a successful breeding season, there’s an excess of young males roaming around. These lions need to go and find mates somewhere, right? 

So they usually go on journeys of hundreds of miles. In these cases, a mountain lion might come into Kansas. But since it’s not an official resident of the state (and since one lion doesn’t make an entire population) we can’t say that mountain lions live in Kansas.

Where Are Mountain Lions In Kansas?

Before humans began killing them off, mountain lions lived all over Kansas. They’re fond of areas where there isn’t any human habitation. They’re ambush hunters and they need hills, rocks, and forests so they can hide and take their prey by surprise. Now, most of Kansas is cultivated land so it isn’t exactly ideal mountain lion territory.

Alas, the last mountain lion that lived in Kansas was killed in 1904. It was shot in Barber County. There aren’t any mountain lions living anywhere in Kansas at present, although one was captured on camera passing through Wichita last year.

Mountain Lion Sightings In Kansas?

Mountain Lions In Kansas

In 2020, mountain lions were sighted (and these sightings confirmed) 15 separate times in Kansas. Before you get too excited thinking there’s a large number of mountain lions roaming around, wildlife officials confirmed the presence of three cats in the area. Since many of the sightings were close to each other, those 15 sightings were probably of those three cats.

Since 2007, there have been about 50 sightings total in Kansas. That doesn’t say much. It’s more than some states, less than others. Hair and scat samples and tracks as well as pictures are used to confirm that the animal really was a mountain lion and not just a bobcat.

In 2021, two doorbell cameras in Wichita caught a mountain lion walking through the city. That’s pretty exciting since mountain lions aren’t city folks at heart. 

How Big Are the Mountain Lions In Kansas?

Mountain lions are the second biggest wild cat in the US, with jaguars being slightly bigger. Adult males can become 2.5 meters long while females are about 2 meters. 

Interestingly, half a mountain lion’s body length is their tail. Standing at almost 1 meter at their shoulders, these powerful animals weigh quite a lot. Males can weigh up to 150 pounds while the smaller females only weigh about 100 pounds or so.

One fascinating fact about mountain lions – the closer these animals get to the poles, the bigger they are in size. They’re smaller near the equator where they don’t have as much fur and fat to cushion them.

What Do Mountain Lions Eat In Kansas?

The favorite food of the mountain lion is, of course, the deer. Specifically the white-tailed deer. Still, it’s not that picky. 

It also eats mountain goats, elks, moose, sheep, and even smaller birds and rodents. There are plenty of deer in Kansas as well as smaller mammals like opossums and prairie dogs for the mountain lion to hunt.

Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions in the United States

Can You Kill a Mountain Lion In Kansas?

Mountain Lions In Kansas

Mountain lions can’t be hunted and shot in Kansas except for very good reasons. They’re protected animals in the state so there’s no hunting season for them (unlike in Iowa or Texas). 

If they’re hunting your livestock, you are allowed to kill them. But even then, wildlife officials encourage you to find some other way to protect your livestock. After all, these animals have become endangered exactly because of indiscriminate hunting.

What To Do If You See a Mountain Lion In Kansas?

How likely are you to actually come face to face with a mountain lion? Very unlikely indeed. If you do, you should keep your distance but stand your ground. Chances are the mountain lion will slink away by itself. Don’t try to run but stand straight and keep eye contact until it moves away. 

You should always report any sightings to wildlife officials since they need to keep track of mountain lion movements in the state.

What Kind Of Wild Cats Live In Kansas?

The only kind of wild cats that live in Kansas are bobcats. Smaller than mountain lions and with short ‘bobbed’ tails, we still often confuse them with their bigger cousins. Along with coyotes and foxes, they’re some of the only predators found in the state.

Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Kentucky

Conclusion

And that was everything about the mountain lion in Kansas. I hope this article answers all your questions.

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