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Cougar Dangers

Cougars (a.k.a. Mountain Lions, Panthers or Pumas) are making their way back into the East, in search of the abundant deer populations which have developed in that region.  This is the fourth largest species of cat in the world, although the Eastern variant is somewhat smaller than the Californian.  The are now found from Maine to Florida, no matter what any bureaucrats of the individual states might claim.  They can and have stalked and killed humans.  Cougars can kill elk and horses, humans are not a challenge.  They can leap 15 feet vertically and bound 45 feet horizontally.  Males can attain 220 lbs. in weight.  They kill by biting into the neck and snapping it.  It is only a matter of time before the cougar attacks on humans occurring in the West also commence in the East.

  • Do not run, this can trigger an instinctive attack

  • Make yourself larger, by opening your jacket and raising your arms

  • Be especially alert at dawn and dusk

  • Travel in groups

  • Children should walk beside adults, the majority of those attacked are children

  • Dogs are no protection, they merely act as attractants.  Leave them at home.

  • Maintain eye contact, while slowly backing away

  • If it approaches, throw objects at it while waving your arms

  • Fight back if attacked, using stones, sticks or other objects


 

The description of cougar behavior below comes from  Camp Life in the Woods; William Hamilton Gibson; 1880

The puma, commonly known also as the panther or cougar, is the largest American representative of the Cat tribe, and for this reason is often dignified by the name of the "American Lion."  It is found more or less abundantly throughout the United States; and although not generally considered a dangerous foe to mankind, it has often been known in the wild districts to steal upon the traveller unawares, and in many instances human beings have fallen a prey to the powerful claws and teeth of this powerful animal.

The life of the puma is mostly in the trees. Crouching upon the branches it watches for, or steals, cat-like, upon its prey. Should a solitary animal pass within reach, the puma will not hesitate in pouncing upon the unfortunate creature; but if a herd of animals, or party of men, should be travelling together, the caution of the brute asserts itself, and he will often dog their footsteps for a great distance, in hopes of securing a straggler.  Birds are struck down by a single blow of the puma's ready paw, and so quick are his movements that even though a bird has risen on the wing, he can often make one of his wonderful bounds, and with a light, quick stroke, arrest the winged prey before it has time to soar beyond reach.  The puma is a good angler. Sitting by the water's edge he watches for his victims, and no sooner does an unfortunate fish swim within reach, than the nimble paw is outstretched, and it is swept out of the water on dry land, and eagerly devoured.

A puma has been known to follow the track of travellers for days together, only daring to show itself at rare intervals, and never endeavoring to make an attack except through stealth.  The animal will often approach cautiously upon a traveller until sufficiently near to make its fatal spring; but if the pursued party suddenly turn round and face the crawling creature, the beast becomes discomfited at once, and will retreat from the gaze which seems to it a positive terror.  So long as a puma can be kept in sight, no danger need be feared from the animal but it will improve every opportunity of springing unobservedly upon a heedless passer by.  The total length of the puma is six feet and a half, of which the tail occupies a little over two feet.  Its color is of a uniform light tawny tint, fading into light grey on the under parts, and the tip of the tail is black.  The puma is one of the few members of the Cat tribe, which are without the usual spots or stripes so observable in the tiger and leopard.  The lion has the same uniformity of color, and it is perhaps partly on that account that the panther is so often known as the American lion.  In infancy the young pumas possess decided tiger-like markings, and leopard-like spots, but these disappear altogether as the animal increases in size.  The cougar has learned by experience a wholesome fear of man, and as civilization has extended throughout our country, the animals have been forced to retire from the neighborhood of human habitations and hide themselves in thick, uncultivated forest lands.

Sometimes, however, the animal, urged by fierce hunger, will venture on a marauding expedition for several miles, and although not an object of personal dread to the inhabitants, he often becomes a pestilent neighbor to the farmer, committing great ravages among his flocks and herds, and making sad havoc in his poultry yard.  It is not the fortune of every puma, however, to reside in the neighborhood of such easy prey as pigs, sheep and poultry, and the greater number of these animals are forced to depend for their subsistence on their own success in chasing or surprising the various animals on which they feed.

When a puma is treed by hunters, it is said to show great skill in selecting a spot wherein it shall be best concealed from the gazers below, and will even draw the neighboring branches about its body to hide itself from the aim of the hunter's rifle.  While thus lying upon the branches the beast is almost invisible from below, as its fur, when seen, harmonizes so well with the the bark which covers the boughs, that the one can scarcely be distinguished from the other.

The puma loves to hide in the branches of trees, and from this eminence to launch itself upon the doomed animal that may pass within its reach.  It may, therefore, be easily imagined how treacherous a foe the creature may be when ranging at will among the countless trees and jungles of our American forests.

 

 

Two Grizzly vs. Cougar fights.
Score:  Cougars 2, Grizzlies 0

(Do NOT get between a cougar and her cub or lunch.)

 

 

 

Cougar salivating over small child:
 

 

   

          

 

COUGAR LINKS:

 

 

 There can be no covenant between lions and men.   Homer, Iliad XXII

 

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