This Fearless Cougar Doesn’t Care How Much Larger the Brown Bear Is and Goes for It

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Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Updated: November 10, 2023

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© Evgeniyqw/
Key Points:
  • Cougars, also known as mountain lions or pumas, are large carnivorous cats that are native to the Americas.
  • They are apex predators and play an important role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystem. They are capable of taking down large prey such as deer, elk, and even bison.
  • This video shows a mountain lion battling a brown bear and while instances of bears attacking cougars are rare, it is not uncommon for the two species to have conflicts over territory and food.

Who knew that a mountain lion would be brave enough to take on a fully-grown brown bear? In this short video, a mountain lion takes on the larger carnivore, swatting at it with its paws.

Even though the bear is much larger and more formidable, the mountain lion isn’t without any skills for both offense and defense. The bear approaches the female mountain lions, moving in its characteristic lumbering strides. The mountain lion stands her ground, hitting the bear’s head and face with her sharp claws.

“Bears and mountain lions are top predators in the North American wilderness,” the narrator says. They are feared, especially by hikers.

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Most experienced hikers know to keep clear of wild animal encounters. Not only can they be unpredictable, but getting in between two animals fighting can be very, very dangerous. At one time, humans hunted mountain lions to keep them from attacking livestock.

Now, this is illegal and the mountain lion population is slowly starting to come back from the risk of extinction.

Mountain lions do not generally go after brown bears. The reverse is also true. Both are formidable predators but prefer to hunt smaller and easier prey. The exception to this is when brown bears try to get vulnerable mountain lion cubs. In this case, the mother mountain lion is not about to let that happen.

Where Do Cougars Live?

mountain lion

Cougars are known for their remarkable agility and strength, and they are capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

©Jim Cumming/

Cougars, also known as mountain lions or pumas, are native to the Americas and are widely distributed throughout the western hemisphere. These large carnivorous cats are found from southern Argentina to northern British Columbia and can live in a variety of habitats, including forests, deserts, grasslands, and even urban areas.

Cougars are known for their adaptability and are able to thrive in different environments. They can be found in dense forests, such as the rainforests of South America, as well as arid deserts, such as the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States. They are also known to live in grasslands, such as the prairies of the American Midwest, and even in urban areas, such as the Santa Monica Mountains in California.

The range of cougars is vast, and they are capable of adapting to different climates and terrains. This has allowed them to survive and thrive across much of the Americas, making them one of the most widely distributed large carnivores in the world.

Furthermore, cougars are native to the Americas and can be found in a variety of habitats, from dense forests to deserts and even urban areas. Their adaptability and versatility have allowed them to thrive across much of the Americas, making them one of the most widely distributed large carnivores in the world.

Don’t Mess With Mama Mountain Lion

puma vs mountain lion

Cougars are known to cross large rivers and lakes in pursuit of prey..


Mama bears get a reputation as fiercely protective of their young, which is very deserved. Many bear attacks involve mother bears that feel their cubs are threatened.

This time, it is actually the female mountain lion that is acting to protect her cubs.

In this video, the cougar is defending her cub and is able to sink her fangs deep into the adult brown bear, says the narrator. The video cuts to footage of the cub, who looks on as his mama protects him from the would-be predator. The mountain lion bites the bear’s neck, a weak point that certainly made the bear think twice before engaging with her again.

This is a short clip so we don’t get to see what happens as the bear moves away. We hope that the mama mountain lion and her cub were able to make it away. They are certainly more agile and faster than a large brown bear, especially one that had just suffered an injury.

Mountain lions can run up to 50 miles per hour, although the mother and her cub would have moved slower.

Is it Normal for Bears and Cougars to Fight?

Fastest Cats - Cougar

Cougars are able to jump up to 20 feet, almost the height of a two-story building!


Bears and cougars are both large carnivores and are known to compete for similar food sources, such as deer and elk. While instances of bears attacking cougars are rare, it is not uncommon for these two species to have conflicts over territory and food.

In some cases, black bears have been known to attack cougars, especially if they feel threatened or if their cubs are in danger. Similarly, grizzly bears are known to defend their territory against cougars, and conflicts between the two species have been documented.

It’s important to note that both bears and cougars are powerful animals and can pose a threat to humans. Encounters with either species should be avoided and it is always recommended to follow proper safety guidelines when in bear or cougar territory.

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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