Lions in Texas?
With the 2022 Lunar Year of the Tiger, just which tigers and lions are native to Texas?
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, native big cat species are jaguar (Panthera species), mountain lion (Puma concolor), bobcat (Lynx rufus), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), and jaguarundi (Herpailurus yaguarondi ). Perhaps even the lynx once lived in Texas. Do any of these Genera names sound familiar?
Texas tigers are called Mountain Lions or puma. These mammals are closely related to tigers and lions. Puma give birth to live young. They may live up to eleven years.
Although Texas Mountain Lions are secretive and rarely seen, they are carnivores. A carnivore is any animal that eats meat. The body length may be 5 to 7 feet nose to tail and they are about 27 inches at their shoulders. Texas Mountain Lions may weigh between 70 to 170 pounds, and appear grey, tan, or tawny brown.
Puma (Puma concalor), the Texas Mountain Lion discussed, is more common [than?] and making a modest come-back in Texas. A mother puma may have as many as many as 6 kittens but usually 2 or 3. Puma are highly adaptable and can live anywhere.
At one time, puma were in every ecosystem in Texas. However, seen by the public as evil predators, they were hunted to near extinction in most of the state. In 2022, most of these rare animals are now found usually in Big Bend, south west Texas, and the Texas Piney Woods in the east.
Puma generally hunt in early mornings and evenings. They may also hunt alone at night as puma have excellent night vision. Puma also can smell and hear well, quietly hiding from their prey. At the top of a food chain, these cats eat small animals like raccoons, skunk, mice, coyotes, cattle, beaver, fish, foxes and squirrels.
For a very detailed reading, please see more about this awesome animal on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.