Miriam’s Art now takes the time to write about the mountain lion. She lists some of the facts known about the big cat and what to do if you come face to face with one!
The mountain lion is found in North and South America. There is an isolated endangered population in Florida. It is found all over the USA but mainly found in the west. Other names for it are puma, cougar, deer tiger, red tiger or panther. It is considered one of the big cats due to it’s stealth and power.
The mountain lion hides it’s prey, the “cache”, beneath leaves and soil and feeds on it for a couple of days. It eats mainly deer but does feed on mice and rabbits too. The mountain lion doesn’t have a good sense of smell but does have excellent sight and hearing.
The mother has a litter of two to four cubs that she raises in a den. The cubs have spots until nine months old. At 16 months old the eyes change from blue to yellow. At 18 months old the young cats leave the mother.
In Canada, the mountain lion is the strongest wild cat and is endangered. The cougar is a shy animal and rarely seen by humans. It hunts at night. Mountain lions are excellent swimmers and climbers and can jump 20 feet (6 metres). The main danger to the mountain lion is human disturbance and forest clearing. Clearing of the forests results in less deer which the mountain lion is dependent on.
It is recommended by some to flee if you encounter a mountain lion…that is if you have a clear path and sure footing. Most people would stand still and make themselves seem larger by raising their arms. Hitting the cougar with a stick or a gun butt might be effective. Don’t run if you are not a fast runner. It was also recommended that you hike in groups since mountain lions tend to attack lone prey. Also it is recommended that you back away slowly when possible but that you don’t turn your back on the cougar because they like to attack the spine of their prey.
I would love to take a photographing trip to capture images of the mountain lion in the wild. I would need a scout and strong hiking shoes. Maybe one day! Enjoy!