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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A huge mountain lion (cougar)

K and I rolled out into a gorgeous but windy day.
After seeing the photos later in this post, you'll realize how lucky I feel that K was alive and well to join me on our snow bike ride today.
She exalted in the crusty snow by wriggling on her back. Oh, how I love this girl.
At about noon, the time of day when we were least likely to encounter the lion, my friend and I returned, with a bodyguard in tow, to check our wildlife cameras next to the lion-killed deer. The site had been rebuilt, the carcass had been moved, and a tall pile of snow and pine needles covered the doe.
I have a ton of photos and videos of this huge lion from around-the-clock for the past four days. I haven't even had time to scan them all. But, here are two teasers. Below, the lion was in the midst of scraping snow onto the carcass, which barely peeks above his snow pile in the far right of the photo.
A gargantuan paw reached out, throwing snow toward the deer carcass. Apparently, by covering the meat with snow, this lion will help preserve it and keep feasting on it far longer than in warmer temperatures.
As tomorrow's photos and videos will show, the lion bedded down in the bare spots created by his snow-throwing. In fact, he spent an entire day guarding his cache by lying next to it. No other mammals (besides crazy K on the day we discovered the carcass) tried to usurp his feast, perhaps because his mighty scent kept them at bay.

My vision of the pure power and strength of a mountain lion has been outdone by the photos and videos. This mountain lion is a pure unadulterated carnivore, with killing powers beyond my previous imagination. Every single bike ride, hike, or ski that I take through the forest, I think about lions and watch for them. I think that I'll be even more vigilant now.


  1. holy moly mother of CAT! that is crazy...what a beautiful lion! yes-i can understand why you are very very appreciative that sweet K is alive and unscathed! looking forward to the vids and more pics!

  2. Unbelievable! My heart is actually beating faster.
    I can hardly wait for tomorrow's post!

  3. WOW! Stupendous photos! Cannot wait for the video!

    Damn, that is one big cat...

  4. Holy Cat-Lion! That is very scary... and I'm worried for you as you bike on those wilderness trails... far from anywhere... anybody. Be safe, KB.
    xo Sammie

  5. WOW! I know how grateful you are that K did not disturb that cat. But the majesty and power in the feline is absolutely amazing. They are stunning, powerful creatures.

  6. Came over here from Dream Valley, those are amazing photos you captured! I did not know mountain lions covered their food. Those cats do worry me. Bears, I know, will show themselves and mostly run from you, if you happen to even get near one. But those lions, they will stalk you. I often worry about it when we trail ride our horses. We ride in cougar-land. Now I'm thinking of ways to be safer!
    p.s. your dog is so cute, I love labs! :)

  7. Khyra says he's a bit too big for her to mess with!

    What a stunning look into his world -

    We can't wait for the next installment!

    AND we LOVED the pics of K too!

  8. OMD, that just sends chills through my entire body. Gorgeous but terrifying.

  9. What could you carry to protect yourself if, God Forbid, one would stalk you. What happens if you become familiar to them? Does their behavior change in any way if they get "used" to seeing you around? Me gets the willies, just thinking about this!

    Jo and Stella

  10. Be careful with that cat. It was just in the news that a Golden Retriever was mauled by a cougar as the dog was trying to protect his owner kid.
    Amazing animal though...

  11. Holy Cat Scratch Fever! That is one scary looking cat!

    I hope you and K will be very careful. I don't want to see K on the news as the next hero after seeing Angel the golden retriever who defended her boy from the big cat in Vancouver yesterday.

    I'll bet the videos are amazing!

  12. Hello KB, My adrenalin is pumping, for sure! What amazing photos! I'm wondering if the lion was watching but did not attack K because both you and R were also nearby and making noise? Do you still believe this lion has a kitten? That is one massive pile hiding the kill. You must be very careful - both for yourself and your dogs.

  13. Some powerful photos! Gotta respect the cat.

    I like the way you are working with your dogs in preparation for the surgery. Smart thinking to plan so much out ahead of time. They look so much like they love to please you.

  14. That is one really big cat. Be careful out there!

  15. she looks healthy. respect.

    tread lightly out there.

  16. Jinkies! What gorgeous photos! But wow, it just sends shivers up my spine to think of K running right up to that carcass.

    I can't wait to see the videos!

  17. My gosh, don't you ever get frightened with such large cats prowling around? I've seen stuff on NatGeo about what they do to us humans if they do attack and it's horrible.

    On the news the other day I heard of a big cat getting hold of a little boy. His 18 month old Golden Retriever came to his rescue and drove the cat off. Little boy is going great and dog is recovering from his wounds.

  18. wow, unbelievable....can't wait for more!!! how much do you think he weighs? is it a he and any sign of a youngster?
    i would say you guys were lucky! and K seems no worse for wear after her carcass eating extravaganza.....can't wait for later to read and see more!

  19. Every time I think you have amazed me, you post something that is beyond the pale. What great photographs and how fortunate that both of you are fine.

    It is a spendid creature, isn't it? So majestic and powerful.

    Great post.

  20. Beautiful animal...what a treat to see these photos!
    I saw this story anf of course thought of you:


  21. Meow! that thing is HUGE! i can't believe you have K in "just a heel". I'd be buckling mine down in a kennel of steel... gheeesh. that's a good dog to stay near you in the face of a big kitty!


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