Mountain Lion VS Wolves – A Comparison Between Two American Predators

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Mountain lions and wolves are both major predators in their respective ecosystems. While they both earn respect as being animals on top of the food chain, have you ever wondered how the two animals compare?

Mountain lions are generally larger and stronger than wolves, but wolves are faster and have more endurance. The mountain lion favors steeper and mountainous terrain whereas the wolf prefers flatter lands like grasslands, forests, etc.

Are you curious to learn more about the differences between wolves and mountain lions? Who would win in a fight? 

We here at Floofmania have compiled a list of information filled with the key differences between wolves and mountain lions to answer all of your questions!

Where Do Mountain Lions And Wolves Live?

A pack of white wolves on a snow-clad hilltop, howling´with threes behing them.

As you can guess by the name, mountain lions live in the mountains and steep canyons. Normally, they prefer to be where deer live since that is their main prey. You can find mountain lions in states like Colorado, California, and Oregon. 

Wolves on the other hand can live in more environments, but they often prefer lower terrains. You can find wolves in forests, grasslands, deserts, and woodlands. Some states you can find wolves in include Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, etc.

How Big Are Mountain Lions Compared To Wolves?

On average, mountain lions are much larger than wolves. Mountain lions can weigh 60-198 pounds whereas a wolf can weigh 80-150 pounds.

As for height and length, the mountain lion and wolf can both reach 2-3 feet tall. However, the mountain lion’s body can reach up to 8 feet long while the wolf can only reach up to 5 feet in length.

What Do Mountain Lions And Wolves Look Like?

A closeup of a mountain lion lying on a wooden log, looking towards the camera.

Mountain lions can be described as large, tan cats. Their fur is primarily tawny-beige in color with a whitish-gray chest and belly. They also have black markings around their snout and on the tip of their ears and tails.

Wolves have bodies that are similar to large German shepherd dogs, but the exact size of the wolf will depend on where they live. Wolves usually have markings along their face and undersides.

As for color, most wolves have a mix of gray, brown, and white fur. However, they can vary in color since some wolves can be solid white, black, or brown.

How Fast Can Mountain Lions And Wolves Run?

Wolves can run up to 35-40 mph whereas the mountain lion can run up to 30-50 mph. While it seems like the mountain lion can run faster than the wolf, that is not strictly true.

Wolves can maintain a speed of 35-40 mph for up to 2 miles. On the other hand, the mountain lion can reach a speed of 50 mph, but it will only last for a short sprint.

As such, wolves are arguably better runners and have better endurance than mountain lions, and the wolf would be able to outrun a mountain lion.

How Do Mountain Lions’ And Wolves’ Senses Compare?

A closeup of the brown eye of a gray wolf.

When it comes to senses, the mountain lion and wolf are evenly matched. The mountain lion and wolf both have excellent hearing and vision that helps them spot prey from far away.

However, the mountain lion will lose when it comes to overall senses because the mountain lion has a weak sense of smell. On the other hand, the wolf has an excellent sense of smell that helps them track prey

What Are Mountain Lions And Wolves’ Main Prey?

When it comes to mountain lions, their prey of choice is deer. They will also prey on other animals of the deer family, like elk. However, mountain lions will also eat smaller animals like rabbits and even insects if they do not have a choice.

Wolves are also carnivores that will eat almost anything that they can hunt. Some common prey that wolves enjoy are mice, rabbits, elk, mountain goats, moose, and deer. If given the chance they will also hunt and eat fish, beavers, and birds!

As such, wolves and mountain lions have very similar diets as carnivores since they feast on prey animals. While some people assume wolves are omnivores, wolves are actually carnivores that eat negligible amounts of plant matter. However, wolves have been noted to eat plants when they are starving whereas mountain lions are unlikely to eat any sort of vegetation

Who Would Win In A Fight Between A Mountain Lion And A Wolf?

Are you wondering who would win if a mountain lion and a wolf fought each other? Let us take a quick look at the stats.

Mountain LionWolf
Size8 feet long, 2-3 feet tall5 feet long, 2-3 feet tall
Weight60-198 pounds80-150 pounds
Speed 30-50 mph35-40 mph
Bite 650 PSI and below406 PSI for an average bite

In most scenarios, a mountain lion would win against a wolf in a fight. A mountain lion is much larger and stronger than a wolf. 

If the mountain lion were to ambush a wolf, the fight would be over right away. The mountain lion would be able to tear the wolf’s throat or bite its skull.

On the other hand, the wolf does stand a chance if they are both aware of each other’s presence. The wolf is faster than the mountain lion with better endurance for running, and with the right moves, the wolf can bite the mountain lion at the right moment if the wolf is agile enough.

Next, the wolf would have to bite the lion, but the wolf bite is not as strong as the mountain lion’s bite since an average wolf bite is 400 PSI. Some believe that the wolf’s bite can reach over 1,000 PSI in maximum attack mode, but there is not enough evidence to support this claim.

Even if the wolf lands a good bite on the mountain lion, however, the mountain lion has very large, strong 2.5-inch long claws that can sink into the wolf’s skin and push the wolf off, so the wolf’s bite has to be strong enough to immediately subdue the mountain lion. If the wolf can use its 2-inch long teeth to bite hard into the mountain lion, the wolf could possibly win.
This fight is considering the fact that both animals are alone. Mountain lions are generally solitary animals, and a mountain lion would surely lose if it is faced against a pack of wolves.

Author: Allison Marie Dinglasan

Hello! I am Allison, an avid writer for 6 years with a deep interest in animals since I was a child. I grew up on Animal Planet and animal books and often did rescue work for stray and sickly cats, dogs, and birds in my area, which led to over 60 rescues. My future goal is to be a veterinarian to have a more hands-on approach to helping and learning about animals!

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