Bears and Mountain Lions

Much like people, animals have dynamic relationships with one another. We’re talking about more than the usual predator-prey dynamics that may initially come to mind. Instead, what we’re referring to is more or less a hierarchy in the animal kingdom. Some animals are dominant over others, while others may be more subordinate. This is typically determined by size, strength, and even by hunting strategy.

For example, wolves are often dominant over mountain lions because they hunt in packs and out number the solitary cats. In Nevada, however, wolves are not present outside of the occasional transient individual that may wander into the state. Bears, on the other hand, do currently live in Nevada. So how do bears and mountain lions interact? Who is dominant and who is subordinate?

While there isn’t as much research about the interactions of bears and mountain lions, studies have shown that mountain lions often depart their kills due to the arrival of bears in an area. This would suggest that mountain lions are subordinate to bears. Researchers have also found that, once a mountain lion abandons its kill to a bear, it seldom returns.

Denise Peterson

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