Why Do Mountain Lions Scream? | About Their Sounds

In this article, we will discuss Why do Mountain Lions Scream? It is a critical question. Mountain lions are the most dangerous wild cats in North and South America Unlike your housecat, mountain lions have a unique way of communicating through what sounds like a bloodcurdling scream. Mountain lions can produce a variety of sounds depending on the situation. Mountain lions usually scream when they are angry or scared.

What Do Mountain Lions Sound Like?

Mountain lions are similar to our common house cats, but their vocalizations are rougher and louder. Mountain lions are much larger than our feline pets, and their vocal cords are stronger. They also have a deeper pitch, which gives them a wild and intimidating sound. If you ever find yourself face to face with a mountain lion, It is important to be aware that these animals are wild and can potentially be a danger to your safety. Never approach a mountain lion; if you see one in the wild, give it plenty of space.

Mountain lions are big cats that share similarities with our common house cats. For example, they both purr and meow. Mountain lions cannot roar like some other big cats can. Mountain lions are significantly bigger than our domestic cats, so the sounds they produce are also louder.

Their voices are deeper and rougher, expressing their strength and producing a fierce, wild sound. Each lion has its unique vocalizations that are distinguishable and may vary noticeably. Some mountain lions tend to meow more than others.

Can Mountain Lions Roar?

Only the Panthera genus cats can roar, while mountain lions belong to a different genus called Puma. Mountain lions can still purr like ordinary cats despite being unable to roar. Mountain lions are a type of cat that is native to the Americas. They are also known as pumas, cougars, and catamounts. Mountain lions are the largest cat in North America. As per research, adult mountain lions generally weigh around 115 to 180 pounds. These majestic creatures are solitary and tend to come together only for mating purposes. Females will give birth to a litter of two to four kittens after a gestation period of about three months. Kittens will stay with their mother for the first 18 to 24 months.

Mountain lions cannot roar like lions because they have a different type of hyoid bone. This bone allows them to produce a low, rumbling noise, but it does not allow them to produce the loud, roaring sound that lions are known for. Mountain lions cannot roar, but they are still able to purr. They may not be able to make the same loud noise as lions, but they can still make a noise similar to purring. Overall, mountain lions are unique creatures that cannot roar like lions. They are still impressive. They can still make noise and are still large cats that are impressive to see in person.

Baby Mountain Lion Sounds

Most Baby Mountain Lions Sounds make the same sounds as adults, although not as loud. They can sound much like common house kittens, but they have rougher, raspier voices. As cubs begin to grow and explore their surroundings, they start making various vocalizations. From chirps and trills to roars and growls, mountain lion cubs have various vocalizations to communicate with their mothers and other lions. As they get older and more independent, mountain lion cubs will start to make more adult-like sounds. Even as adults, mountain lions still make some of the same types of sounds that they did as cubs.

Like most cats, they communicate with meows and chirps but also have a special chirp to call their mothers. When mountain lions feel threatened, they will also chirp as a warning to other animals. When they are relaxed, they will purr, just like common kittens. When playing with their mothers and siblings, they often hiss and growls at one another.

What Sounds Do Mountain Lions Make?

Mountain lions use different sounds in different situations to communicate effectively. Mountain lions typically use meows, chirping, and whistling when they are trying to communicate with other mountain lions. Growling, hissing, and snarling are used as intimidation while screaming is typically reserved for mating. By understanding the different sounds that mountain lions make, we can better understand their behaviour and how to best coexist with them.

By understanding the different sounds that mountain lions make, we can better understand their behaviour and how to best exist with them.

Mountain lions have various vocalizations that can be classified into different categories based on their purpose and type of sound.

There are two categories of sound based on their function.

Mating calls: These sounds are used by both males and females during mating season. Male mountain lions use them to let females know they are ready to mate, and females use them to let males know they are receptive. Cubs’ calls: Cubs use a variety of sounds to communicate with their mothers and each other. These include mewing, grunting, and hissing. Growls hisses, and snarls: These sounds are used as warnings, usually when a mountain lion feels threatened.

Why Do Mountain Lions Scream?

Attention-attracting calls: As the name implies, these sounds are used to attract attention. During mating season, female animals use specific calls to signal to the males that they are ready to mate Young animals, such as cubs, use attention-attracting calls to get their mothers’ attention when needed.

We can categorize sounds into five types based on their characteristics.

  • Purrs
  •   Meows
  •   Whistling and Chirping
  •   Hisses, Growls, and Snarls
  •   Screams


Purring is common among cats, and mountain lions are no different. Though their purrs are much louder than your average house cat, 20 times louder, to be exact. Purring is thought to be a way for cats to communicate contentment and relaxation, and mountain lions likely use it for the same purpose. It’s also believed that purring has therapeutic benefits for cats, helping to reduce stress and promote healing. So, don’t be alarmed if you hear a mountain lion purring. They’re just enjoying a good old cat nap.


Mountain lions and common cats meow for the same reasons. Meows are usually reserved when mountain lions are relaxed or content, as they are more likely to use other vocalizations, such as roars or growls when feeling threatened or agitated. While mountain lions’ meows may not be as cute as common cats’ meows, they serve the same purpose. So, next time you hear a mountain lion meowing, don’t be alarmed; they’re just trying to get your attention!

Whistling and Chirping

Mountain lions are capable of making sounds that resemble the chirping of birds or the whistling of humans. These sounds are used for communication, like meows and when mountain lions call each other. They are known as contact calls, and mountain lions make them when they feel safe. People often confuse the chirping and whistling that mountain lions make with the sounds of birds. It can be dangerous, as people may unknowingly approach a mountain lion. Both whistling and chirping are high-pitched noises that can also resemble squirrel or chipmunk sounds. Whistling and chirping may sound similar, but they are two different noises. A chirp is a short, sudden whistle that is quickly stopped.

Hisses, Growls, and Snarls

Mountain lions are known to be some of the most ferocious and intimidating animals in the wild. When threatened, they often hiss, growl, or snarl to intimidate their opponents and warn them that they are prepared to attack if necessary. Hisses are made up of a continuous sound that mountain lions will make when they feel threatened. Growls are low, guttural, intimidating sounds – a big feline’s growl can be terrifying. Snarls are more aggressive growls, often accompanied by snapping toward the threat and showing teeth. Like a common house cat, a mountain lion spits while hissing. This behaviour is usually seen as a final warning before the animal attacks.


Mountain lions are known for frightening screams, but many people don’t realize this isn’t done to scare away potential predators or intruders. Rather, screaming is part of the animal’s mating ritual. Mountain lions usually have vast territories and are solitary creatures. Therefore, when a female enters her mating season, there is no apparent way for a male to detect it. The scream is a way of letting males around her know that she is ready to mate. Screaming is not only done by females in heat, though. Males will also occasionally scream to ensure that rivals stay off of their environment. So, don’t be alarmed next time you hear a mountain lion scream. It’s just nature’s way of ensuring the continuation of the species.

How to Identify Mountain Lion Sounds

The best way to Identify Mountain Lion Sounds is to look for other key traits. Often mountain lions make sounds that resemble those of other animals, so it can be difficult to tell only by hearing a sound whether or not it’s a mountain lion. First, look for tracks. A mountain lion has three divots in its bottom pad, making it look almost like it is shaped like an M. They also rarely have claw marks visible in their tracks, thanks to their retractable claws. You can also look for droppings and claw marks on trees. You may also stumble across a kill that they have hidden. If you do hear a sound that you think might be a mountain lion, pay attention to the direction it’s coming from and try to get a good look at the animal. If it’s truly a mountain lion, you should be able to see its long tail. If you’re ever in doubt, the best thing to do is to stay away and call the authorities.

Do Mountain Lions Make Noise While Hunting?

Mountain lions typically make an effort to remain as silent as possible. As ambush hunters, they aim to catch their prey off guard. Therefore, they creep on their toes and avoid making any noise. Mountain lions are indeed ambush hunters. Mountain lions typically hunt their prey quietly, walking on their toes to avoid making noise. It has been observed that some mountain lions use vocalizations during hunting. One theory suggests that mother mountain lions use vocalizations to protect their cubs. It is also possible that mountain lions use vocalizations to communicate with other mountain lions in the area.

Why Do Mountain Lions Scream


Mountain lions may be known for their stealth and silence, but they can produce a range of vocalizations that can be surprisingly loud. From gentle meows to menacing growls and even bone-chilling screams, these apex predators can make their presence known when necessary. It is during mating season when they are at their noisiest, with females in heat calling out for potential mates. Understanding the vocal repertoire of mountain lions can provide valuable insights into their behaviour and communication patterns.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do mountain lions scream when they mate?

Yes, mountain lions produce screams during mating rituals.

Do mountain lions scream at night?

Yes, mountain lions are known to make screaming or screeching sounds during the night.

What does a cougar scream sound like?

A cougar’s scream is often described as a mix between a high-pitched scream and a low growl.

Misbah Ashraf