Watch A Mountain Lion Swim Across a Raging Colorado River

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: September 27, 2023
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When relaxing by the river in Colorado, you never know what you’re going to see. In this case, a brave mountain lion was filmed swimming across the Eagle River.

The video shows a fast-moving river. The large predator is paddling across, his head barely staying above water. He’s determined, though, and makes it to the other side. He splashes out of the river and doesn’t waste any time. Bounding up the bank to the parking lot above, the mountain lion disappears back into the grass and brush.

The Eagle River is a tributary of the Colorado River. It begins at the continental divide and flows east, eventually joining the Colorado River. This particular video was captured by a Jeep tour company near Gypsum, Colorado. It often runs tours of the wilderness and more rugged areas around nearby Vail.

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Colorado has an ideal habitat for mountain lions. There are plenty of forests for them to roam as well as other animals for them to hunt. Shelter and food mean that this is a mountain lion paradise. While the exact numbers of these animals in a particular area are hard to track, reasonable estimates put the Colorado population between 3,000 and 7,000.

Mountain lion stares into camera

Mountain lions are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat to survive.


Can Mountain Lions Swim?

Clearly, this one can swim. But is that the case for all mountain lions?

Yes, mountain lions are accomplished swimmers. They can also jump easily, just like this one had to do when he exited the river. They are native to North America and go by many names. You may also hear mountain lions referred to as cougars, pumas, or even panthers, depending on the region.

These animals are famously elusive and prefer to stay away from people. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous, though. If you come across one while spending time outdoors, make sure to give it plenty of space. Back away calmly, if possible. Chances are it won’t try to follow.

These predators can be dangerous for small pets left outside. They are stealthy hunters. It’s possible that this mountain lion was in search of food. They can cross rivers, streams, or other obstacles looking for a tasty meal. We may not know what this amazing animal was looking for on the other side of the river, but he was sure determined to get there!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Evgeniyqw/

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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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