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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Thirsty Mountain Lions Seeking Water

The mountain lions that have passed through our neck of the woods over the past month are showing a repeating pattern of movement - one that I haven't seen before this summer. They invariably stop by a reliable spring where they can drink water. Prior to this year, I'd never seen a mountain lion drink from that spring. Our drought is causing most springs to dry up - and I think that the lions don't have any choice but to drink from the one that is flowing well.

They arrive in our area to our west, briefly stopping to leave a scent mark and then they move along. This guy was about to scrape the ground to leave his scent mark but he moved slightly out of view before he did it.

Their next stop is usually a big Ponderosa Pine tree about 1.5 miles away. Under that huge tree, the lions scrape the pine needles with their hind feet while they urinate, leaving another scent mark.

Next, their route usually takes them another mile to pass under a leaning tree that bears love to mark. Sometimes the lions mark here and sometimes they don't.

Then, it's not too much further to the spot where the spring water gathers. The lions lap the water loudly and gratefully, sometimes drinking for as long as two minutes.

Occasionally, a lion deviates from this pattern, like this individual who walked nearby in broad daylight. However, this lion is the exception to what is becoming a strong pattern.

I believe that the drought is changing our wildlife's habits - leading them to frequent the few springs that are still running. It has started raining recently - and it is such a novelty that I ran outside to photograph the rain! It's truly wonderful to hear the rain falling... but, unless we have a deluge, I think that it is too late to turn things around before the winter. We need a winter of heavy snow to make a difference.

I made a video of the recent travels of lions through our neck of the woods, which you can watch here or at Youtube.


13 comments:

  1. I am so glad you got some rain, and I know that feeling of yay it is raining.. we went through 2 years of drought, recently broken Wow on the loud lapping.. hope you get your snow, nature has gone beserk all over the world....

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  2. I hope you get lots of rain soon. We love watching them lapping water.

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  3. Those mountain lions are lucky to find that spring. I saw a clip on Facebook of 4 mountain lions (probably a mom and her kittens) that wandered onto a deck to drink from a fountain somewhere in Colorado. They were all thirsty.

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  4. Great video. And they do drink loudly! I know it's been dry but didn't realize so many springs had dried up. And now I am wondering if that is why we have seen so many more moose and the first pair of deer ever, running through our in-town neighborhood in Nederland this year. They are probably trying to get water from Middle Boulder Creek due to the springs up in Big Springs not flowing. I hadn't walked up to check. Hoping for a big snow year...

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    1. I probably wouldn't know that springs are dry if I didn't always watch them closely for wildlife activity. This year is sad with big dry dirt spots where water from springs usually pools. I bet that is why you are seeing more wildlife in town.

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  5. Thank goodness for the critters having the streams...
    I'm a rare chick...I love rain. Doesn't bother me one bit. That is why slickers and umbrellas were invited.
    Hugs C

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  6. We always enjoy your videos and photos of the wildlife there. It is sad to think the animals have to struggle to find water. We watched the fires on the news this morning and saw deer rummaging through the burned out areas for something green to eat:(

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  7. Some years ago the small stream at the back of our place dried up,and Hugh ran a hose down to a deeper place so the eels would survive. Those lions are so savvy and can find another place to drink, that they would normally not visit. Lovely videos and pics.

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    1. Hugh is a good animal lover! I didn't know that eels live in fresh water. That's cool!

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  8. Praying for rain for all the woodland creatures.

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  9. I sure hope the best wateriing holes get replenished soon!

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  10. I'm glad you've at least gotten some rain though. We were headed for a drought here too, but this last week it rained almost every day - we got 4 inches over the week in my rain gauge. Yet some places that usually collect water are still dry. I guess it really takes a lot to make up for a dry spell.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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