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Discussion: cougars

in: Cristina; Cristina > 2008-05-21

May 21, 2008 3:55 PM # 
I don't know why I'm so much more freaked out about cougars

Perhaps because there's evidence of them viewing people as prey and attacking, rather than just acting defensively?
May 21, 2008 4:18 PM # 
Are cougars the same as mountain lions?
May 21, 2008 4:27 PM # 
Cougars don't naturally see people as prey, though I imagine I might look pretty tasty anyway. I'm pretty sure I'm more likely to accidentally step on a rattlesnake, hit a deer in my car, or find a scorpion in my shoe than I am to have a cougar encounter. I guess it's only natural to be more scared if they put up signs that say "don't go there! omg you might be attacked!"
May 21, 2008 4:30 PM # 
Yes. Cougar = mountain lion = panther = Puma concolor. They live in a lot of places, so they have a lot of names. I like cougar best, it sounds more cuddly than anything with "lion" in it.
May 21, 2008 4:37 PM # 
Maybe not in general, but I think there are recorded cases where mountain lions ambushed, and maybe even stalked people. (I'm not certain about that.)

On the other hand, if you're concerned about looking tasty to animals that might come after you, Cristina, then there's a primate species in that area that is probably a bigger threat.
May 21, 2008 5:01 PM # 
In the two cases I can think of around here (one in Boulder and one in Rocky Mtn National Park), the mountain lion went after a child lagging behind a group of adults hiking along a trail.

I agree that they look cuddly...would love to pet one if it were tranquilized and laying in my back yard.

May 21, 2008 5:41 PM # 
I've always heard to never tie a shoe with your head down. The head down apparently mimics a sick animal and triggers some instinctive reaction in the cougar. You want to appear big and strong and imposing.

(Have you ever tried to tie a shoe with your head upright? It's pretty hard.)
May 22, 2008 2:26 AM # 
Brooke, I think this calls for the invention of cougar decoy: a papier-mâché child tied on to a quick-release tow rope.
May 22, 2008 3:11 AM # 
Genius! We'll make millions!
May 22, 2008 6:49 PM # 
I'm also told that cougars find you more imposing if you pick up a big stick and wave it menacingly. But as per Cedarcreek, don't bend down to pick it up. Around here, unfortunately, there is a shortage of big sticks hovering in mid-air.
May 22, 2008 7:45 PM # 
We don't have too many hovering sticks, either, but we also don't have too many lying around on the ground. Guess we're screwed.
May 22, 2008 10:00 PM # 
Try an umbrella. Worked great on bears.
May 23, 2008 2:32 AM # 
I had a cougar stalk my campsite once. At least I think so; my flashlight was getting dim and I didn't want to get close enough for 100% certainty. I just put on my backpack, picked up my gear, and hiked several miles down the beach.

Just whatever you do, try not to look like a giant ball of string.
May 25, 2008 10:07 AM # 
May 26, 2008 2:34 PM # 
On the bright side, I've read that if you don't fare too badly in an initial attack, your odds are good of outrunning the cougar after that. They're excellent short-term sprinters, but they can't sprint for as long as Cristina can. (Oops, sorry, that might be a sore subject after the weekend... ;-) )
May 27, 2008 12:55 AM # 
Angelica & I once saw a bobcat or mtn. lion on a trail run on in the remote northern section of Sunol (BAOC). It was pretty far ahead, on the same dirt road, and so our loop run turned into and out and back...

This discussion thread is closed.