Polk County Conservation

Mountain Lion Nature Myths

This podcast was produced by Polk County Conservation and funded by Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education program or REAP-CEP.

Welcome to the Nature Game Show! And here is your host.... Heidi Anderson

Oh thank you and welcome to the show. Today’s topic is all about mountain lions in Iowa. So let’s get started. Contestant number one here is your first question...

The mountain lion has several nicknames. Can you name at least one of its other names?

Um... cougar?

Correct! Mountain lions are also known as cougars, pumas, catamounts, or panthers.

Contestant number 2, here is your question... The easiest way to tell the difference between a mountain lion and a bobcat is by the length of the mountain lion’s tail, which is 3 feet long. True or false?

It’s true!

That’s right! A mountain lion’s tail is about three feet long, giving them a total body length of up to nine feet from nose to tail. A bobcat’s tail is only three to five inches long, and they are a much smaller cat, measuring only a total of about three feet.

Contestant number 1, back to you... What do mountain lions like to eat?


No, mountain lions do not like to eat people. They eat smaller mammals like rabbits and raccoons, as well as larger animals like deer.

You’re up contestant number 2... The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released mountain lions in Iowa to control the deer population. True or false?


Sorry, that one is false. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has not released mountain lions in the state and has no intention of doing so.

We’re all tied up. Here’s the tie breaker question....

There have been over 1,000 reports of mountain lions in Iowa, but only six of those have been confirmed. True or false?

True ... False!

Hold on, hold on! Whoever said true is our winner! There have been over 1,000 mountain lion sightings reported to the DNR and only six of those reports are confirmed. A report can not be verified unless they have a carcass, photo or video of the animal, or a photo of its track. It is likely that 95% of the reports are considered a mistaken identity.

Well that’s all the time we have today. I want to thank our contestants for playing. Join us next time for myths surrounding fungi.

This podcast was funded by REAP-CEP which is a program the State of Iowa invests in to enhance and protect the state's natural and cultural resources. REAP provides money for projects through state agency budgets or in the form of grants. For more information about REAP, visit iowareap.com.

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