Iipay Aa name: Nyimetaay
Common name: Mountain Lion
Scientific name: Puma concolor
Kumeyaay People revered Nyimetaay and its skin is considered sacred. In the Kumeyaay Creation Story, Nyimetaay brought food to the creator, Tu-cha-pai, when he was dying, which is why he is so well admired.
Photo courtesy the National Park Service.
Cats are some of the toughest animals. They can squeeze through holes, climb trees, and jump as high as 5 feet! Have you ever seen a wild cat? Or better yet, a Mountain Lion? Mountain Lions, or Nyimetaay in ‘Iipay Aa, are large felines that can weigh up to 220 pounds! They can be found all over California. These large cats have tan brown fur all over their bodies. They use their massive paws to protect themselves and hunt mice, raccoons, and coyotes. Mountain Lions don’t have to worry about predators, but humans are a threat to them. We are taking over their habitat and giving them less land to live in. They needed to adapt to chaparral in order to survive, including using their ability to eat whatever they can to survive. Fun fact: Mountain Lions are effective predators because they are strong and nimble. They can jump as high as 15 feet and as long as 40 feet. They could easily jump the width of a tennis court!