Mountain lions are also called cougars, puma or panthers. Or, you may just want to call them "big," since they're the largest cats in Montana. Adults weigh between 100 and 200 pounds; generally, the males are larger than the females. Mountain lions are incredible hunters, silently stalking their prey—often in the cover of dusk or darkness.
They are completely carnivorous, so you won't hear them ordering a side salad to go with dinner, which can range from deer to elk to porcupines. Mountain lions hunt for survival, not for sport. If they can't finish an entire kill in one meal, they'll cover it with leaves and brush then come back to it later. (The mountain lion version of "leftovers.")
They are solitary and territorial, except when they are breeding or with their kittens. Two to four kittens are common, and kits can be born anytime during the year. Mountain lions avoid humans as much as possible, but that's sadly less possible than ever now. As humans move deeper and deeper into mountain lion habitat, more encounters are occurring between mountain lions and humans. Believe it or not, most of these encounters involve the family dog; mountain lions tend to see dogs as potential lunch entrees (another excellent reason to leave your pets at home). Even though dogs are most often the victims of attacks, please be aware that mountain lions have occasionally attacked humans as well—especially young children. If you do encounter a mountain lion, your best defense is to make sure you don't act like food. Yell, flap your coat, and try to make yourself look larger and more menacing. This will spook the cat and convince it to look for an easier meal elsewhere. (Please note: do NOT attempt this tactic with bears.) Avoid instinctively running, as this will make you seem like typical prey. While hiking, keep careful watch, and keep your children close to you.