The animal was hit around 7:30 a.m. on eastbound state Highway 92, west of the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir area, sheriff's Lt. Ray Lunny said. The mountain lion ran across one of the highway lanes and was struck by the SUV.
An arriving sheriff's deputy saw the mountain lion lying in the roadway but then it stood up and limped toward the Skyline Quarry area north of the highway, Lunny said. The deputy estimated the mountain lion weighs about 85 pounds.
The sheriff's office contacted the California Department of Fish and Game, which responded to search for the wounded mountain lion this morning, Lunny said. The animal will be killed if found, he said.
Residents of the Eichler Highlands and Skyline areas of the county were notified of the incident through SMC Alert, the county's alert system.
Lunny said the search for the mountain lion would likely be impeded by the area's terrain.
"It is not easy to track or find anything in such a heavily wooded area," Lunny said.
Fish and Game spokesman Kyle Orr said department officials have called off the search for the mountain lion.
If the animal is spotted again, Fish and Game officials will return to the area, according to Orr, who said the animal is not considered a public safety threat.
Orr said between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions live in California, claiming more than half the state as their habitat.
"I want to stress that while we want people to report these incidents, encounters between people and mountain lions are rare," Orr said.
Attacks are even more rare, with 14 reported in the state since 1890, according to Orr.
Nevertheless, anyone who sees a mountain lion should call 911, their local law enforcement or the California Department of Fish and Game.
"We would encourage the public to report mountain lion sightings at any time," Orr said.