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OK, I'm going to talk about my favorite animal. Now this is an animal I've never seen in person, which is good, but I think it's a very beautiful animal and one that I've very interested in, and that is the mountain lion. Now the mountain lion lives in the Western Hemisphere and it can be found in both North America and South America.

As a matter of fact, the mountain lion has the largerst range of any animal in the Western Hemisphere. It lives as far north as Alaska and as far south as Chile and Argentina.

Now the name mountain lion is a little misleading because it's not an actual lion, even tough it looks pretty similar to the female lion of Africa. Actually, the mountain lion is closer to just the ordinary cat. As a matter of fact, the mountain lion does not roar. It only purrs, just like a cat does.

Now these days, fortunately, there's a lot of mountain lions. The population is growing. There is now 30,000 in the Western United States alone, and just in the State of California, there's between 4 and 6,000 mountain lions. NOw the mountain lion has sort of a sandy-brown color, and it has black tips on it's ears and tail, and it is an amazing athlete.

It can run up to 50 kilometers per hour and can jump 6 meters from a standing position forward, and it also has a very high verticle leap. Now males can get quite big. They can be as long as two and half meters, from head to tail, and can weigh up to 70 kilograms.

Usually they live about 10 years in the wild, and if the lion is in captivity, like in a zoo, they can live up to 25 years. Now the mountain lion is a ferocious hunter. It lives mainly on deer, which is it's main diet, what it likes to eat, and it can kill and carry something seven times it's weight.

   
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© Todd Beuckens