Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2014.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Active Mountain Lions"

The rumor flying around here is that there is an "active mountain lion in the area". Apparently, there are signs posted next to some roads announcing this. The odd thing is that I tend to think that there are always active mountain lions in the area.

Within a short distance of our home, I've captured many mountain lion photos in the past month, and that's perfectly normal for this time of year.

A half mile from our house...

Further from our house...

In addition, I posted trail camera photos of other mountain lions just a few days ago. It does help me to feel slightly more comfortable to know that I've never captured a mountain lion photo close to our house. Believe me, we have more wildlife cameras per acre on our land than any normal family so if lions were coming close to the house, we'd probably know.

One reason might be that we don't have lion attractants, like unsupervised dogs, outside our house. Lions do view dogs as edible prey. So lions are more prone to approach houses with dogs outside them, even if they're in fenced yards or on decks. Needless to say, fences and high decks don't stop mountain lions.
Dogs in fenced yards and dogs that are allowed to "hang out and/or roam" outside their houses are the ones at the highest risk of being eaten by mountain lions. So, all of our dogs' outdoor time is with us. We pay close attention to them while we're out with them.
According to the rumors, the active mountain lion has attacked multiple dogs. However, according to those same rumors, the dogs were attacked while being walked off-leash when it was dark out - truly dark - hours before or after the sun was up. That's a big risk around here.

In daylight hours, Shyla does have one behavior that tends to scare me. When people or dogs who she fears approach on a trail, she sidles off to the side of the trail and hides. If she hides soon enough, neither the people nor their dogs notice her. However, my heart pounds until I can spot where she's hidden. It's never far away, and, amazingly, it's always downwind of the trail. She's a very smart dog.
She also has shown me that she's very aware of mountain lion scent and scared of it. I've seen her act scared when she sniffed mountain lion tracks.
I think that's a healthy and probably a very helpful fear!

I truly hope that no more dogs are attacked by mountain lions. Perhaps the publicity will educate new residents about the precautions that they need to take in mountain lion territory. However, I do know that, even if we take precautions, mountain lions pose some level of risk to all of us. It comes with the territory but it's a very low probability risk compared to the happiness that living in the mountains brings us everyday.

25 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

you sound very wise and pragmatic about their presence. i do hope folks and their dogs stay safe. and i'm glad i don't have them here.

Nola said...

I'd be terrified of mountain lions and Nola. Just terrified!
Nola's Mom

Nancy J said...

It sounds like some people need lots of education before venturing out into the woods. So glad Shyla has that savvy and stays safe. Cheers from Jean

Melody Robinson said...

Beautiful photos as always with the beautiful dogs and wildlife set amongst the beautiful Rocky Mountains backdrop.

Melody Robinson said...

Beautiful photos as always with the beautiful dogs and wildlife set amongst the beautiful Rocky Mountains backdrop.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

We know you are all extra careful knowing he mountain lions are there.
I hope people take better care of their dogs- so less probability of them getting eatin!
love
tweedles

houndstooth said...

It seems hard to believe that people wouldn't know what kinds of precautions to take living in an area where they're so common! Here's hoping things settle down and there aren't any more problems!

Cocoa and Melon said...

Interesting thing to come up right after my comment on your post less than a day ago. I'm sure I'd feel differently seeing the pictures living in your situation.
I'm glad your dogs are as safe as they can be thanks to your care.
Melon

scotsmad said...

One would think dog owners would be more aware of dangers if living in that environment.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Amber DaWeenie said...

I guess a hungry mountain lion is no match for a dog, whether with its owner or not. That would always have me worried. Good to know that Shyla is afraid of the scent of a mountain lion and hopefully will avoid them.

Sam said...

LOL - I'm always amazed when folks in our neighborhood are so confident in saying their fence will keep lions out. Especially when they let their little dogs run loose all day. Sigh...

Shyla is so pretty. ...and smart!

Monty and Harlow

Brian said...

Nope, I don't want to be romping with those big kitties either!

Amy said...

I sure hope the people learn some caution instead of trying to find and eliminate this mountain lion doing its thing in its own habitat.

Two French Bulldogs said...

I think I would be a nervous wreck. About 1 hour from here a mountain lion climbed over a balcony wall and took a large elderly dog into the foothills. You are obviously very responsible
Lily

Taryn said...

Obviously fearing the mountain lion scent is an instinct. When we are at our condo in Myrtle Beach, there is an outdoor mall/entertainment/pedestrian kind of place. A wildlife refuge from out in the SC countryside has a display set up where they bring a couple of tigers to sit in a large cage (I don't agree with it and feel bad for the tigers) to attract mall walkers and donations. They only keep the tigers there a few hours a day. When we go at night, we take the dogs along and of course the tigers are gone. Jimmy is TERRIFIED of the scent that comes off the empty cage. I mean eyes bugged out, straining on his leash to get away terrified! Wilson on the other hand wants to pee on the corner of the cage. LOL! I guess we know which one would be eaten by a Mtn. lion :-)

Roxy the traveling dog said...

I love your mountain lion pics. That's one critter I have never seen in the wild, and would like to. At a distance. People need to be smart in mountain areas. Obviously Shyla is smarter than most people.

Michael O'Neill said...

We lost a much beloved member of our family by letting him out at 1:30 in the morning so he could take care of some urgent business. Never found him or any trace of him again. Great loss.

As you say, the risk is small but real, and goes with the territory. Still love your pictures, love your stories, love your insights.

Keep up the great work. This is important.

Rambling Hermit said...


They are so beautiful but yes def scary!

Murphy said...

We love the pics and are wondering how many critter cams you have?

Your Pals,

Murphy & Stanley

Mitch and Molly said...

We're very happy that you're a smart girl but be careful, Shyla - you can never be too careful!

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

NCmountainwoman said...

Why will some people never learn? When you share space with wild animals you must adjust your living to work around their natural instincts. You can't change them so you have to change yourself and take precautions. Lovely photographs of sweet Shyla.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
liparifam said...

Those pics of Shyla peeking out from behind the trees are adorable - even though she's there because she's scared...

Hawkeye BrownDog said...

Hi Y'all!

Catchin' up with y'all. Shyla is truly a wise girl. People don't understand the importance of recall and "no chase". You just never know when those simple commands could save your friends life.

Y'all come back now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Lindsjö taxar said...

Beautiful lions.
Be careful when you are hiking.