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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Caturday: A Mother Mountain Lion and Two Kittens

This photo told me that the next batch of trail cam photos would be fascinating. I knew that it was a mountain lion and a kitten! I based the "kitten" assessment on the bars inside the kitten's front leg.

 In contrast, this was mom - note the lack of bars inside the front leg.

It turned out that it was a mother mountain lion and two kittens. For the first days, they hung out at the extreme end of my trail camera network. They went back and forth both at night and early in the morning. Usually, that pattern means that they are feeding on a carcass for most of the night and then walking to a "day bed" for snoozing the day away.

After the first couple of days, they took a long walk, probably looking for more prey. The kittens are big enough to wander on their own. Thus, the kittens would sometimes lag mom by 3 minutes or so!

And then, as they tried to catch up with mom, they'd CHIRP to communicate with her. If there hadn't been a mountain lion very nearby, I would've thought that the sound was a bird!

At one point, mom paused to let the kittens catch up. As she stood still, I was struck by how thin she is. It must be extremely hard to hunt for yourself and TWO very big kittens. I suspect that the kittens are within a few months of when they'll go off on their own. However, they are still probably not good hunters and rely on mom to kill prey to feed them. It's a huge job for a mother mountain lion.

Enjoy the video, including the audio CHIRPS, either here or at Youtube.

18 comments:

  1. Such fun to see, we love watching the big kitties and the wee big kitties too!

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    1. I agree - those are big kittens! I feel a little sorry for the mother needing to supply them with food.

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  2. Those are pretty big kittens. Love the chirp.

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    1. The chirp is such an odd sound to come out of such a big cat's mouth!

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  3. My word above...we are in true and awe struck by this amazing post. Your videos and commentary are better than anything on Animal Planet. Dear sweet mom having to feed to kits almost as large as she is. I hope she had a feast once they can do their own grocery shopping. I didn't know about the bars on the legs and the chirps are absolutely precious. Amazing such a tiny sound out them. Madi's 'I want din din' new is twice a large. but then she is a Diva.
    My husband always thoroughly enjoys your wild life videos of bears but He is truly a cat man.
    Hugs Cecilia and the Diva!!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. The wildlife posts take so much time! But I love doing them, and it means so much to hear that others like them!!!! Of course, the Diva is louder than the mountain lion!!! LOL!!!

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  4. the chirp does sound like a bird , I would never have thought it was a cat. those big old kittens are almost as big as mom. makes me sad to see her thin like that. I am sure it is harder and harder to find food these days.

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    1. It makes me sad too. But I hope that she will rebound after the kittens are on their own. She must be very strong to have raised both of them for so long (probably a year or so, and the mortality of kittens is very high - a testament to her strength that she has TWO!!!).

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  5. Wow!!What a video! :)))))))Thanx for sharing.Anita

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  6. What an amazing video. You've given us a glimpse into something most people could never imagine seeing.

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  7. The Mama mountain lion is a good mother to feed those big kitties. Let's hope she has taught them well and they can fend for themselves soon. Thanks for sharing - we love videos:)

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  8. Gosh, they are just magnificent creatures!

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  9. Such a soft little chirp, and for Mum, a really busy time foraging for food for her large family. Wonderful words with the photos and videos .Thanks again for sharing your world with us.

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  10. Those are big kittens! The chirps are so sweet.

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  11. Having you for a friend is better than living in nature especially when you are city folk like us

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  12. um...those don't look like "kittens" to me! MOL!! catchatwithcarenandcody

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  13. They are all so beautiful! Mama AND "kittens".
    KZK

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