Young mountain lions sort out their place in the litter hierarchy early in life. These little guys are just weaned and about 3 months old. His mock ferocity, very large compared to his coordination, generates many tricks and somersaults, but not a true bite. Competition for a scarce resource is often what fuels these interactions. But when there is abundance, tolerance is more abundant. And at the end of the day, everyone is more than happy to put aside their bickering and seek solace in their mother’s hugs and nursing.
Mom is F5 Cougar. She is part of a long-term population study conducted by the MPG Ranch in western Montana. She was first identified in December 2014 with a one-year-old kitten. We surmised that she was at least three years old at the time, but possibly older. That would make her a minimum of 10 years old now, and up there for a predator that averages an expected lifespan of 13 years in the wild.
At her age, she may not be as successful a hunter as she once was, which would explain why her kitties fight over scraps. She had a litter of three the winter before this video and she lost them all, she bred again in the early summer and gave birth to these little ones in the early fall. Life is not easy for a predator, and the dangers associated with hunting take their toll throughout life. But for all we know, F5 is still out there, stalking the mountains he calls home.