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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mountain lion flurry

We've had a flurry of mountain lion activity lately. I believe that the mountain lions are focused on our area due to the elk herd that recently arrived. I checked one of my trail cameras and departed...
About an hour later, a lion came through, pausing to look over his shoulder in front of the trail camera.
Then, he sniffed the base of a bear tree.
More sniffing. I liked this photo because of the elegance of his long flowing tail.
After thoroughly sniffing the area, the mountain lion wriggled on his back. I hadn't ever visualized mountain lions being so goofy until recently.
He continued his antics for almost a minute, and then stood up and shook, as shown in the next photo, just before departing.
In the following 10 days, many visitors marked the same spot, include coyotes and bobcats. Then, another mountain lion arrived. I'm calling both lions "he" because it's nearly impossible to definitively tell the difference between males and females from photos. However, I suspect that the first mountain lion was either a young adult or a female, based size and coloring, and that this second mountain lion was a male.
He turned and sniffed the area where the other mountain lion had wriggled.
And then he dove into the scent.

Finally, he rubbed the side of his face on a rock near that spot, before he too departed.
I'm not sure what I'm seeing here... but, as I said, I wonder if there's a female "in season" in our area, leading to far more marking behavior than I've seen in the past.

I also noticed that there were numerous "scrapes", where the lion had kicked back with his two hind paws and then urinated, in the area of my cameras after the second lion's visit but not after the first one's visit. That strengthened my guess that the second one was a male because they "scrape" far more extensively than females.

Mountain lions can have kittens all year long, and many do have them in the winter. So, it wouldn't be too surprising if a female were in heat now.

After all this big cat activity, I'm trying to be extra aware of my surroundings when I'm out in the woods. Today, a deer watched me and Shyla walk through the forest shortly after sunrise.
It was Shyla who alerted to me to the doe's presence when her nose started sniffing and then she looked intently at the deer. Believe it or not, she didn't even think about chasing the deer.
What a good girl!


  1. Wonderful cat photos! Loved the one of him wiggling on his back. And what a good girl is Shyla?!! Yep pretty sure I might have chased, pretty sure.

  2. Shyla is amazing! I can see me being pulled across the ground holding Stella's leash with her seeing and sniffing the deer!

    Great pics, KB! Glad you are paying extra attention to those cats!

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  3. Shyla is progressing so wonder having you as a Mommy she's bound to work out well!

  4. Your "cats" are amazing! It's imressive that you're out there riding amongst them all.

    Good job Shyla for staying put! We give our backyard deer a good barking at then it's like "eh, who cares..."

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  5. Good girl, SHyla! What gorgeous cats

  6. Shyla is really come so far! What a great day to share with her, too. I wonder if there are ever different species just trying to "outstink" each other in certain spots. lol They are more entertaining than a lot of reality shows!

  7. I love those mountain lion tails!

  8. I just love the Mountain Lions. Someday I'd like a camera of my own. I bet it's like opening a present every time you get the new pictures.

  9. Fabulous mountain lion photos! They look so powerful. And kudos to Shyla for not chasing the deer. What a good girl!

  10. Shyla is a good girl!! The mountain lions are so graceful looking, those are great photos.

    Anne and Sasha

  11. LOVE, love love those mountain lions. Such a gorgeous animal.

    Great pix.


  12. That was interesting to see the lion rolling around on its back. Some of our pack only does that on bird poop!


  13. Wow! These photos take my breath away! These lions are SO gorgeous. Their powerful back legs and graceful tail are amazing.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Mamma Heartbeat

  14. That's one thing I really like about walking with dogs. Their senses are generally better than mine. They alert me to things around me well before I'd see them myself!

    Be safe out there!

  15. Love, love, love the mountain lion photos! And the photos of the deer and Shyla, of course. It's nice to see both those lions were unencumbered by collars. Shyla could be the poster dog for positive training. She's made such huge progress!

    Susan and Wrigs

  16. Shyla is learning well from all that you are teaching her. My dogs would love to get a sniff of all that pee mail and animal scents:) Their snooters point to the sky as soon as they get a sniff of a bunny or squirrel.

  17. Your pictures are awesome and Shyla is beautiful!

  18. BOL, we roll in stinky stuff too
    Happy Halloween
    Benny & Lily

  19. The mountain lion shots are really neat! Do you carry anything for protection? Just in case?


  20. Hi there, I didn't realize that mt. lions had babies all year; how interesting! I'm glad you are both aware of the animal activity going on-you can't be too careful. I've had folks here in Co. tell me that we don't need to worry, but I came from Ca. where attacks by the big cats were fairly often. Love the stills from your camera. Hugs, Noreen

  21. Wonderful lion photographs! I did not know they were so active during the day.

  22. Ann...from...Outer Banks of NC.....said ....Thanks KB for all the well wishes of Hurricane Sandy....we got lots of wind.. rain..sound tide....ocean over wash..damages to our bridges...but (all) of us here on the outer banks are safe.....what a relief....wish I could say that for the ones in NJ and heart goes out to them....Glad I can be back reading your excellent the info on those wonderful mountain lions Shyla is such a sweet girl and she has such a great teacher....I know you do but it is such a good idea to keep a watchful eye.....stay safe.....HUGS

  23. Great captures! the rolling ones kind of reminded me of Gloria rolling in the poo! haha! She's as close as I'll ever get to "wild". What a good girl Shyla is. It must have been a proud moment for you. :)

  24. We are here- enjoying the beauty- thank you for sharing your world- your peace - a gift to all of us.

  25. Wow, Shyla's behavior can make you forget she's still a bit of a puppy! Good girl! Fabulous shots and wonderful observations on the big cats. How I would love to be able to capture even a tiny pinch of the great photos you get!


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