In North America, two predators often compete for the same prey. I am, of course, referring to the mountain lion and the gray wolf. Both animals are intelligent and determined hunters, but if they were to fight over the same animal, which animal would come out on top? Mountain lion vs wolf, who would win in a fight? We will compare a lone wolf against a mountain lion one on one and one mountain lion against a pack of wolves.
|Mountain Lion||Gray Wolf|
|Size||weight 53 – 100 kg|
height 60 – 90 cm
body length 2.4 m
tail length 63 – 95 cm
|weight 40 – 50 kg|
height 80 – 85 cm
body length 1 – 1.6 m
tail length29 – 50 cm
|Speed||50 mph sprinting||31 – 37 mph sprinting|
|Attack||bite force 400 psi|
5 cm long canines
|bite force 400 psi|
6.3 cm long canines
|Defence||size and speed||lives in a pack|
|strong sense of smell|
|Lifespan||8 – 13 years||8 – 13 years|
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Mountain Lion vs Wolf: Size
Both mountain lions and wolves are sexual dimorphisms, with the males being significantly larger than the females. A male mountain lion can weigh between 53 – 100 kg (116 – 220 lb) and have a shoulder height of 60 – 90 cm (2 – 3 ft). Their total length is 2.4 m (7.8 ft), and their tail averages 63 – 95 cm (2 – 3.1 ft).
The average male wolf weighs 40 – 50 kg (88 – 110 lb) with a shoulder height of 80 – 85 cm (2.6 – 2.8 ft). Their total body length is between 1 – 1.6 m (3.2 – 5.2 ft), with their tail length making up anywhere between 29 – 50 cm (1 – 1.6 ft).
The mountain lion beats the wolf in size.
Mountain Lion vs Wolf: Speed and Agility
Both the mountain lion and wolf are fast at sprinting over short distances. The wolf can reach 31 – 37 mph (50 – 60 kph), but the mountain lion beats that with a top speed of 50 mph (80 kph).
When it comes to agility, the mountain lion being a cat, far surpasses the wolf in its aerobatic skills. They can leap from the ground as far as 5.5 m (18 ft) up a tree using their powerful hind legs to propel themselves.
The mountain lion beats the wolf on speed and agility.
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Mountain Lion vs Wolf: Attack Power
The mountain lion and wolf’s main line of attack are to bite. They are both equally matched, having a bite force of 400 psi. Their canine teeth differ slightly in length, with the mountain lions being 5 cm (2 in) and the wolf’s 6.3 cm (2.5 in).
Now let’s cover the animal’s claws the mountain lion’s claws are usually the same length as their canine teeth. Their claws also have the added ability to retract when they are not needed. This stops them from being damaged and keeps them sharp. The wolf has smaller claws, 2 – 3 cm (0.8 – 1.2 in). They serve no purpose in hunting like the mountain lion’s claws.
The mountain lion is a solidarity animal that stalks its prey using the undergrowth for cover before ambushing them with a fast sprint to catch them. The wolf could not be more different as they are pack animals living in groups, each averaging 15 wolves. They hunt in these packs working together to bring down large prey like bison. A lone wolf would have no chance of hunting big game, so it would have to survive on a diet of rabbits and other small mammals.
It’s a draw on attacking power.
Mountain Lion vs Wolf: Defence
The mountain lion’s primary defences are its size, teeth, and claws. Its size can be used to intimidate, its teeth for biting and its claws for swiping at its opponent. It could also use its excellent climbing skills to flee another predator by escaping up a tree. Of course, this plan could backfire if they are pursued by a bear that can climb trees.
A wolf’s best defence is its other pack members. Large packs only have to worry about grizzly bears stealing their hard-earned kills. On the other hand, a lone wolf would have to hope its snarl would be enough to scare off a predator but most likely would have to flee when threatened.
It’s a draw of defence.
Mountain Lion vs Wolf: Animal Senses
The mountain lion, like other cats, has excellent night vision for hunting. They can’t see in complete darkness but can distinguish prey from their environment in low-light conditions. Not much is known about their hearing, but if it is anything like other cats, they can hear frequencies in the ultrasonic range. They can move both ears together or independently to isolate sounds. Their sense of smell is not strong enough to be used for hunting, only for sniffing scent markings left by other mountain lions.
Wolves have a heightened sense of smell and hearing. They can hear another wolf howling 10 miles away, which is handy if they become separated from their pack. They can hear frequencies as high as 80 khz compared to a human’s 20 khz level of hearing. They also outdo us on smell by having a nose 100 times stronger than ours.
Mountain Lion vs Wolf: What Are The Differences?
The main difference between the mountain lion and the wolf is they are members of different animal families. The mountain lion is a cat, so it belongs to the Felidae family tree, whereas the wolf is a dog and a Canidae family member.
As the mountain lion is a feline, it has better agility than the wolf and has adapted well to climbing trees. Another common trait that all cats have is retractable claws that keep them sharp for when they are needed to grip hold of prey.
The other noticeable difference between the two animals is that the mountain lion is heavier, longer and taller, which would definitely help its chances in a fight. Wolves hunt in packs using their heightened sense of smell and hearing. The mountain lion relies on its sharp vision and great hearing to ambush its prey.
Mountain Lion vs Wolf Who Will Win In A Fight?
When it comes down to a fight between a mountain lion and a wolf one-on-one, the mountain lion will beat it 8 out of 10 times. The mountain lion has the size advantage over the wolf, which it can use to overpower it. However, when a pack of wolves faces a mountain lion, a pack could easily defeat it by taking turns to tire it down before finishing it off. The mountain lion would have no choice but to flee or stay and fight a battle it can not win.
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