Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mountain Lion Visit

Tonight while I was cooking dinner, Drew came inside and asked if I could leave for a minute. "Hmmm, sure for a few minutes."
"I found something you have to see. I won't say what it is, but bring the camera."

I know both of us well enough to know that when we say such things, we've usually found some odd, natural history curiosity, for which either of us will drop everything to explore. We walked out of the yurt and headed south along the loop road, and then Drew led us down an abandoned road toward the place where we were going to put a second yurt. As we descended into the tree tunnel, I could immediately see what it was.

No way. I have lived here for more than three years, and I have spent many years before that looking, and I have maybe only seen definitive big cat evidence once, until today. It is unmistakable. The dead animal, covered with leaves and twigs and dirt, surrounded by raked grass. A look-alike to the small offerings our pet-cats leave in a patch of unmonitored sand, but oh-so-much-larger. Freakishly larger. Frighteningly larger.

Acer, our dog, has been barking more than usual into the bushes, and now we know why. Also, our neighbors have not only seen another lion kill right near their house, but they actually saw the critter itself. So I suppose we should be aware and on the lookout. I don't think I'll be sending Ella out to play in the yard by herself anytime soon.

It's curious to contemplate why there is a cat around now. Late winter hunger? Is it a momma with kittens? Drew also saw another recently dead deer across the creek, though he suspects a coyote kill. Maybe they have pups now, too, so there is extra pressure for food? I once thought there were lions around several years ago, based on the way Acer behaved on a walk home from our neighbor's home across the creek, but it was fleeting, and until now there hasn't been any action aside from coyotes. Though I admit to feeling some fear, I also try to look at it as an opportunity for learning and increased awareness.

1 comment:

Allan Stellar said...

Last year I saw a mountain lion twice. I consider it an honor. There is way too much hysteria around this beautiful creature. Just keep an eye on your children at dusk and dawn. We call it "mountain lion time" in our family. The last child killed by a mountain lion in California was in the 1890's.

Dogs present much more of a threat than a mountain lion. The biggest threat to kids are bees.

We need large predators. Congrats that you have one nearby!