Mountain Lion In North Carolina: Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Mountain Lion In North Carolina
Mountain Lion In North Carolina: Everything You Need To Know

From late dawn and early morning pictures to tales & stories, social media these days are filled with mountain lion sightings. Mostly taken in backyards, these majestic creatures are flooding every media channel across the country. While mountain lions are found in a few states like Florida, most of their population is extirpated. 

But what about North Carolina? The state with a diverse range of landscapes and wildlife does provide a beautiful view as well as a habitat. 

However, there have been no confirmed sightings of mountain lions in the state. However, it is significant to know about these creatures so that we can appreciate their role and also support any future conservation initiatives that may be launched to improve their population in the state.

Below I’ve explained all the things you need to know about mountain lion’s presence in North Carolina.

Are There Mountain Lions In North Carolina?

No, there is no breeding population of mountain lions in the state of North Carolina. In fact, it has been a century since the last mountain lion sighting occurred in the state.

While there have been a few sightings, these are mostly individuals dispersing from nearby states inhabiting these majestic creatures. Additionally, while many people often report various sightings across the state, biologists have still not found any physical evidence to confirm their habitat in the state.

Historically, mountain lions roamed North Carolina as they did in other states. However, habitat destruction, extensive hunting, and unavailability of prey populations drove these creatures into extinction by the late 1800s. 

Are Mountain Lions Back in The Blue Ridge?

No, Mountain lions are not back in the Blue Ridge. Blue ridge mountains are a province of the Appalachian Mountains a part of which is in North Carolina state. 

Though there have been various sightings of mountain lions in these mountains, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission deny their presence. It is most likely that these sightings were of bobcats, coyotes which have similar physical features. 

It is important to note that, the population of any wild animal varies from time to time. Their survival depends on many factors and though currently mountain lions are only found in a few places, the situation in the future could be different. While reintroduction initiatives haven’t been started, there are plans in place to conduct them in the near future.

Can You Kill a Mountain Lion In North Carolina?

Mountain Lion In North Carolina
Mountain Lion In North Carolina: Everything You Need To Know

Also referred to as Easter cougars across the state, mountain lions in North Carolina cannot be killed without a valid permit. However, if your or others’ life is in threat, you can shoot down these resilient creatures as an act of defense. It is however important to always report to the state any unsafe mountain lions in the locality.

Note that cougars are very elusive, and solitary and camouflage themselves very well in their habitat. While they often avoid contact with humans, some scenarios can bring you face-to-face with these majestic creatures. 

These include keeping domestic pet foods outside the property, lack of action toward cougars’ expansion, and lack of reporting to relevant officials regarding any mountain lion attack.

Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions IN US

Can You Own Mountain Lion In North Carolina?

As the mountain lion population is eradicated from the state, these creatures are now protected under state law. It is therefore illegal to possess or kill a mountain lion.

While mountain lion is elusive and always stay away from human contact, these solitary creatures may attack you if you are in possession of food or if you are believed to be harmful to the mountain lions’ cubs.

Other than that the legal issues involved in mountain lion ownership, similar to other wild creatures, it is also dangerous to own mountain lions and bring them up as a pet. 

These are not your day-to-day domesticated animals. Occupying the top position in the food chain as an apex predator. 

And while these predators can be extensively trained in captivity, once released, they may still exhibit wild characteristics,

Are There Big Cats In North Carolina?

Other than the elusive Cougars also known as mountain lions, the state of North Carolina has a thriving population of Bobcats. With tufted ears, short tails, and spotted coats, the bobcat is the largest native found in the state. These big cats are adaptable like cougars and therefore can be found in a range of habitats like forests, swamps, and even suburban areas.

While other big cats like lynx or ocelot are not commonly found in the state’s wild habitats, they may be encountered occasionally due to the dispersion of individuals from nearby states, escapes, etc. 

And when spotted, it is important to report these sightings to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission which is responsible to track and manage the wild animal population in the state.

Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lion In New Jersey


And that was everything you need to know about the Mountain Lions In North Carolina. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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