Mountain Lion Size Comparison: How Do They Compare?

Mountain lions are large cats native to North, Central, and South America.

They are among the largest carnivores in these areas, only overshadowed by bears, jaguars, and alligators.

These animals go by many names, including cougars, pumas, catamounts, and many more. 

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Mountain Lion Size Comparison: How Do They Compare?

These large cats are magnificent to look at, but you might be wondering how big they actually are.

They’re pretty big, but that isn’t enough information. Pumas are considered the 4th largest cat in the world, but aren’t “big cats” because they can’t roar! 

If you want to find out more about the size of the mountain lion, keep reading. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about them right here in this article. 

Mountain Lion Size Comparison: How Do They Compare?

Overview On A Mountain Lion’s Size And Appearance

At the shoulder, these animals only usually reach around 3 feet. They have bodies that reach lengths of around 5 feet, and their tails can be between 23 and 33 inches long.

From nose to the tip of the tail, a mountain lion can measure up to 7.7 feet long, and they can weigh up to 220 lbs.

The mountain lion is a large, tan cat with a white or gray belly and chest. Their color can vary depending on their location in the Americas.

They will always be a shade of tan or a tawny brown, unless they have a mutation. 

Mountain lions will also have a few minor black markings. These markings will be around the animal’s snout, the tips of their ears, and the tip of their tail.

Cubs have more black markings than adults, including black spots to aid them with blending into the surroundings.

Adults have eyes that can appear to be a green-brown or yellow color, while cubs have blue eyes.

Mountain Lion Vs Human Size Comparison

Mountain lions will typically come up to the knee or mid-thigh on most people, depending on height.

They are 3-feet tall at the shoulder, so they’re certainly nothing to scoff at! In terms of weight, it would be pretty easy for a large mountain lion to outweigh a human. 

Weights can vary a lot, and these cats can be anywhere from around 60 lbs to as much as 220 lbs – that’s about the same as a washing machine! 

The biggest difference for most people and a mountain lion would be in the height.

A lot of people are between 5 foot 4 and 6 foot 4, but a mountain lion can reach 8 feet long, tail included.

That means that the vast majority of people would feel dwarfed if they lay side by side with a mountain lion. 

At least there’s only about an inch difference when it comes to an average human hand and a mountain lion paw.

Even though it’s just an inch bigger, you definitely shouldn’t try to find hands with one of these cats. 

Mountain Lion Vs A House Cat Size Comparison

It’s fair to say that any kind of house cat would look tiny compared to a mountain lion.

Even looking at the largest house cat, the Maine Coon, the mountain looks huge.

To reach the same height, you would have to pile three of these cats to be equal to a mountain lion.

That doesn’t work for equaling the weight, though!

You would need at least 10 Maine Coons to equal the weight of the smallest mountain lion – about 60 lbs. For the biggest mountain lions, you would need around 40 cats.

You would also need around 5 Maine Coons standing nose to tip of tail to equal the mountain lion’s 8-foot tail and body. 

Compared to a mountain lion, any house cat’s paws are tiny! Generally, even for a Maine Coon, their paws would only be around a ¼ of the size of a mountain lion. 

Mountain Lion Vs A Dog Size Comparison

There’s no need to compare a mountain lion to dogs like chihuahuas or pugs – they are no more than chew toys. The real question comes to the bigger dog breeds. 

There are a few dogs that are taller than mountain lions, like Great Danes, but don’t quite match in weight at around 180 lbs.

Other dogs, like the Anatolian Shepherd, were bred to deal with cougars. These dogs are almost equal to a mountain lion in height, but only weigh in at around 140 lbs.

The English Mastiff is one of the few dogs that can equally be pitted against a mountain lion.

These dogs can weigh between 200-250 lbs and are three feet at the shoulder. 

Comparing A Mountain Lion To Other Large Cats

Tiger

Mountain Lion Size Comparison: How Do They Compare?

Any kind of tiger would dwarf the mountain lion. The smallest tiger, which is the Sumatran tiger, weights a maximum of around 300 lbs and measures an impressive 8 feet.

The largest tiger – the Siberian tiger, can weigh up to 660 lbs and be a whopping 10 feet long. They can stand between 3.5-5 feet tall.

The paw of a Siberian tiger is an impressive 6-8 inches wide and 7 or more inches long. A mountain lion’s paw is 5-6 inches long and around 3 ½ inches long. 

Lion

Mountain Lion Size Comparison: How Do They Compare?

Lions are the second-largest cats in the world. They typically stand between 3.5-5 feet at the shoulder, and have bodies that measure between 4.5-6.5 feet long.

Add a tail on, and lions can reach an impressive length of close to 10 feet. Males can reach impressive weights of 570 lbs, with a lower weight of 330 lbs.

Lionesses would also dwarf a mountain lion, with a weight anywhere between 270-400 lbs.

Lions have paws that average a length of 5.5 inches and a width of 5 inches, which still makes a mountain lion look small!

Jaguar

Mountain Lion Size Comparison: How Do They Compare?

Jaguars are the third-largest cats in the world, and can reach weights of 350 lbs, lengths of 7 feet, and measure between 2-3 feet at the shoulder.

While a more similar size, jaguars are still much larger than mountain lions in all regards.

Leopard

Mountain Lion Size Comparison: How Do They Compare?

Leopards and mountain lions are a similar size, with mountain lions being a little larger.

Leopards typically reach a maximum weight of 200 lbs, while the maximum for a mountain lion is 220 lbs.

At least a mountain lion could have a fair fight with a leopard!

Final Thoughts 

Mountain lions are the 4th largest cats in the world, after only tigers, lions, and jaguars.

They measure a respectful 3 feet at the shoulder, which means that they are more than capable of doing some damage. 

Overall, mountain lions are large cats that outweigh and outsize the majority of dogs and all domestic cats.

Compared to a human, they are likely to reach the knees of mid-thigh.

Joe Edwards
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