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

Mountain Lions In Arizona

There are many big cats that live in the Western Hemisphere, but mountain lions hold a special place. You may have heard them called by their other names – panther, puma, cougar, or catamount. They once dominated the wild cat scene in the Americas. Even today, they are widespread, roaming all the way from Canada in the north to Chile in the south.  

Are There Mountain Lions In Arizona?

Yes, there are mountain lions in Arizona. In fact, Arizona’s landscape is so incredibly diverse that it is also home to three other types of wild cats. Apart from mountain lions, bobcats are the most commonly found wild cats in Arizona. Ocelots and lynx also live in specific regions of the state.

Arizona mountain lions are ambush hunters. These cats are stealthy, they quietly follow their prey and attack them when they least expect it. Mountain lions in Arizona prefer deer, specifically whitetail deer and mule deer. They also eat peccaries (pig-like mammals), bighorn sheep, and smaller desert mammals. 

How Many Mountain Lions In Arizona?

Finding out the population of mountain lions in Arizona is not an easy task. Their elusive nature and solitary tendencies make them difficult to track and assess. 

The Arizona Game and Fish Department looks at harvested mountain lions to calculate their population. Currently, it is estimated that there are 2,000 to 2,700 mountain lions who have made Arizona their home. They also claim that there is no indication that the population is declining. 

This is evident when one compares their findings to a 2020 study, which estimated that there were around 1,166 to 1,715 mountain lions in Arizona. 

Where do mountain lions live in Arizona?

Mountain Lions In Arizona

When it comes to adapting, mountain lions are the experts. They can be found across Arizona, in nearly every part of the state. According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, they have one of the most extensive ranges out of all land mammals. A mountain lion’s territory can range from 10 miles to 150 miles.

This makes it easy for them to live in Arizona since there is plenty of land that is uninhabited by humans. In Arizona, mountain lions are found in a variety of habitats- from the vast Sonoran desert to the mountainous forests, and everywhere in between. 

How common are mountain lions in Arizona?

Mountain lions are commonly seen in Arizona, along with bobcats. Both of these cats are often spotted in the rocky or mountainous terrains of Arizona. 

Arizona mountain lions are neither endangered nor threatened. In fact, this is the case with most mountain lion populations in North America. They are tagged as a species of “least concern,” which means that their population is ever-expanding and won’t reduce anytime soon. 

In Arizona, mountain lions are a thriving population with an ever-expanding presence. Not only do they occupy most of their state, but they are slowly moving towards newer areas that haven’t been occupied by their species for a long time. 

Are Mountain Lions A Problem In Arizona?

When left alone, mountain lions do not pose much of a threat to humans. In fact, research shows that they are just as scared of humans as we are of them, maybe even more.

However, there have been cases of mountain lions encroaching on people’s spaces. In states like Arizona, people live very close to the natural habitats of mountain lions. Livestock, domestic animals, and open water sources (like ponds) start to attract these felines closer and closer to neighborhoods. As time passes, they become comfortable with the presence of humans and start preying on their livestock and pets.

This risk of mountain lions attacking humans is small, but it is still there. Mountain lions are large predators, and they can seriously injure or even kill humans. So, if you live in Arizona, you need to be aware of your surroundings to avoid running into unwanted problems with mountain lions.

Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.

How big are mountain lions in Arizona?

Mountain lions in Arizona can weigh anywhere from 75 to 150 pounds, depending on their age and gender. Male mountain lions are generally heavier and bigger than their female counterparts. 

Arizona mountain lions are recognized by their tan fur and their white/cream underbellies. Including their long tails, they can grow up to 8 feet in length. When they are on all fours, they are about the same size as an adult German Shepherd. 

These big cats are also excellent jumpers. In a single leap, they can jump almost 40 feet horizontally- nearly 6 times their average height!

Can you shoot a mountain lion in Arizona?

Yes, Arizona residents can shoot and hunt mountain lions. Mountain lions are classified as a “game mammal,” which means they can be legally hunted. However, there are several things to remember.

For starters, you will need a valid hunting license and a mountain lion tag. A licensed dealer can provide you with both of these things. You can use a handgun or a rifle to shoot a mountain lion. If you manage to successfully hunt one, it needs to be reported to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

It is also considered unlawful to hunt mountain lion babies, or female mountain lions accompanying their babies.

How many mountain lion attacks in Arizona?

There have been several incidents of mountain lion attacks in Arizona. They don’t attack humans that often, and most of the time, the attacks aren’t fatal. However, mountain lions living close to human establishments often attack livestock and pets. 

In May 2023, the death of several pet dogs in Prescott, Arizona was believed to be caused by three Arizona mountain lions. In March of the same year, a mountain lion attacked a man who was camping in Gila County. Fortunately, he survived when his companions fought it off.

Experts believe that mountain lion attacks will become more and more frequent as time passes, because of urbanization. One thing people can do to prevent these attacks is to keep their pets and livestock protected and close to them at all times. If you are ever attacked by a mountain lion, the best thing you can do is fight back.

Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Arkansas


And that was everything about the Mountain Lion In Arizona. I hope this article answers all your questions.

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