We live in mountain lion country. Deer, which roam freely through our yard and congregate beside our drive, are a favorite meal for the big cats.
So the deer wander through followed by the mountain lions. We also have skunks, raccoons, bobcats, jack rabbits and coyotes plus lots of smaller critters flying, running and slithering through our 22 acres.
But I’m thinking about mountain lions today because last week, two hikers in a San Mateo County park came face-to-face with a pair of mountain lions. And despite the hikers’ efforts to scare the lions away, the big cats followed them back to their parked car, giving the men a serious scare.
San Mateo is in the urban San Francisco Bay Area. County officials warned residents in the vicinity, and posted warnings throughout the park. They even closed the park for four days, but were not able to locate the mountain lions.
I’ve only seen a mountain lion on our place once. But it was an amazing sight. The tail alone, that tawny, smooth appendage that appears to always be planning something, looked five-feet long to me. I'm told adult males can weigh between 130 and 150 pounds; females weigh between 65 and 90 pounds. So these are good sized felines!
Our neighbors report seeing cougars quite regularly. The last one was spotted lying lazily on a large tree limb, its legs hanging down like it felt totally at home in a world it owned.
We all know better than to wander around at night or before dawn. And should we accidentally happen upon a half-eaten deer carcass, we know enough to high tail it out of there pronto.
My sighting of the big cat happened early one morning when Sweetheart Al and I were driving home after a weekend with friends. It might have been 5:30 a.m. when we headed down the lane that leads to our drive.
And there, suddenly, running across the road in front of us and right up our driveway was the biggest, most beautiful cat I’d ever seen. The sudden beauty and power of it took my breath away. The cat was all elegant muscle, rippling in the early morning light. Its ears and tail were tipped in black.
We turned into our drive and the cat turned on its after burners. In a second, it was gone. Disappearing into the woods like magic.
We’ve seen their paw prints in the mud and we’ve heard their screams. I’ve even heard one kill a deer, but that’s another story for another time.
The point is, I love seeing wildlife living free. I do not want them following me around anymore than I want to follow them around. There’s room for both of us, I think, and if not, then I ought to make some adjustments. After all, I’ve moved into cougar territory, not the other way around.
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