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Monday, December 18, 2017

A Mountain Lion Stalks Prey

Today is a big day for R. The results will give us some insight into what the future holds for him. As a distraction from that, I have one of the most fascinating footage of a mountain lion, in full stalking mode, that I've ever captured.

Just after our last snow, I found mountain lion tracks all around our area. They went through wild areas with no homes and also went close to houses that have domesticated animals (goats, chickens, dogs).

I had lots of fun following them around (going around private property and then picking them up on the other side) but I really wanted to find photos or video footage of this animal at one of my trail cams.

I discovered that I did have mountain lion footage on my cams! The majority occurred before the snow, like this guy passing a cam.
The other footage was some of the coolest action I've seen from a mountain lion in front of my trail cams. A mountain lion stalked an animal who must have been outside the view of the trail cam for about a half hour!

This was his arrival in front of my trail camera. It's a spot where there's a pool of water for most of the summer. When it dries up like now, the animal activity usually becomes almost nonexistent. Not this night! He took each step incredibly deliberately, avoiding making any noise at all.

It took him almost a minute to get from that first position almost into his pouncing position. As he moved each hind paw forward, he'd inch this front paw forward so that the hind could land where the front paw just was. It appeared to be a method to prevent him from accidentally making noise with his hind paws.

Then, he maintained this very uncomfortable-looking position for quite a while. I believe that he was ready to pounce on unsuspecting prey. Either there was a prey animal nearby or he expected that one might come looking for water. He held his tail up and off the ground the entire time.

He left the view of the camera a couple of times but kept coming back, always using his silent deliberate gait.
Knowing that these fierce creatures are out in the forest makes even nearby excursions feel like explorations (looking for signs of them) and adventures. I spent some time exploring near the water hole to see if I could find signs that the lion had made a kill there but I didn't find anything. However, they hide their kills well so I might have missed it.

Here's a video of this mountain lion's time near the dry water hole. It is not in slow motion. Rather, he was moving with such stealth that he moved very slowly.

26 comments:

  1. Loving mom hugs and kitty purrs to you and R.....today.
    Mom and Dad are watching Wild Cat week on Nat'l GeoWild
    Last night was Rocky Mountain Mount. Lions...quite frankly your videos are 1000% better than what we saw on the tveeees. OMCs
    We noticed the documentary called them Mt. Lions, Cougars and something else all in the same program.
    Is there an official name for them? Any ways...they are gorgeous cats. Mom told me my hiss is louder than theirs MOL she is a funny lady.
    Hugs madi your bfff

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. The same species has a lot of names. Its scientific name is "puma concolor". In our region, they are called "mountain lions" or just "lions". In other places, they are primarily called "cougars". Scientists tend to call them "pumas", which is short for their scientific name. It is VERY confusing.

      I recently saw a National Geographic show on mountain lions, and it was fabulous. Amazing footage. It focused on mountain lions (or "cougars" or "pumas") in the Grand Tetons, all of whom wore collar so that the researchers could get great close looks at them.

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  2. Hari OM
    You know you and R are in thoughts and prayers... and what a privilege to be able to 'eyesdrop' on this magnificent cat! YAM xx

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  3. Wow - he is very sneaky and very good at creeping! Our fingers and paws are crossed for you, R♥

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  4. Incredible! I have heard stories of them sneaking up on hunters, now I can see how that's possible.

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    1. Yes, now I see how it's possible too. He is so patient... moving so slowly and silently. He could sneak up on me, no doubt! I'm glad that he doesn't want to.

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  5. Oh yea, big cats hunt big time!

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  6. Sending all good thoughts for R's test results. Amazing footage (literally - that hind foot placement is so precise!) of that mountain lion.

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  7. He is magnificent, and patient, and so strong. then the deer spooked!!!Love to you all for todayXXXX

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  8. when he is standing with all four paws close together and tail out that is what the stroke doc made bob do, stand with feet close together and close his eyes, he said when he can do that he can go home. this made me think of it. magnificent muscles this big guy has. and the patience of job...the size of his paw is amazing.

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  9. Kitty cats hunt in such a similar way no matter if they are wild or domesticated. Fun to watch!

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  10. Thinking lots about R today and hoping for good news.

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  11. What an incredible video. No wonder they are so efficient at getting prey.

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  12. I read, but don't usually comment. Please know that there are exponentially more people like me out here who are sending prayers and good karma R's way. Hugs to you all!

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    1. Thank you for commenting today. I appreciate your prayers and good karma!

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  13. That is a great video. We are sending prayers for R

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  14. how fascinating watching him!
    All pug paws crossed for R
    hugs
    Hazel & Mabel

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  15. The man and I enjoyed watching this so much. How cool.

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  16. That was incredible video. At one point the lion almost looked like he was balancing on one front and one rear paw. He sure did think there was something there. Fascinating!!!

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  17. Our paws are all crossed here in New Zealand for R and we are sending you our love. Kiha kaha (the Maori to English translation of this saying is "stay strong")

    Riley, Enzo and their bipeds.

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    1. Thank you for translating. I love how "Kiha kaha" sounds!

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  18. All paws are crossed for R. That video of the mountain lion is amazing.

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  19. I loved watching the lion and it's very quiet movements.
    I also was imagining myself out there. A neighbor recently saw a lion with a youngster hunting next door to me. But i have not seen any tracks in the snow since then. Thank you for sharing!

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  20. Total amazing,,,,,!!!! Did I ever tell you,, I was face to face with a cougar,, in that very stance,,as it was about to leap on one of our donkeys.. My scream got rid of it.
    love
    tweedles

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  21. Fascinating footage, I would love to know what he was upto. That deer had the right idea to be jumpy around there. In South America they call them Puma. I think I did find some scat once while in a forest in Patagonia.

    Kiersten

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