Saturday, July 4, 2009
Beware the Mountain Lion
Last night around 9:30 I was in bed reading with the door and window open. I heard a strange sound but when I listened carefully I heard only the crickets. Then again the sound and then nothing. About ten minutes later the sound was close (near my studio for those who know my property) and it sounded like a woman screaming. I called for my husband who was in the front part of the house and asked if he'd heard that. He said that it was just our kitties running on the roof. I said no I didn't hear that I'm talking about that screaming, you better come here and listen. We soon realized it wasn't human, but sounded so much like it at times. We turned on the outside lights but couldn't see anything and once we yelled it was quiet again. We came back inside and soon there were the screams again. Very close. Real eerie sounding. We just knew it was a mountain lion (puma or cougar). This morning we walked about and saw some large paw prints that could only be a mountain lion's. So I guess we have to be careful when we're out walking past dusk to and from our studios and to remember to carry a big stick. If you're approached by a lion you're suppose to look as big as you can and be aggressive by facing them, talking sternly to them, and walk away slowly. I sure hope I could do this and not run away screaming at the top of my voice!
It's not unusual for mountain lions to be here, after all, I do live in the mountains. I read reports in local papers about these cougars attacking runners or hikers but I also read it's not in their nature to attack unless they think it's prey. Some cougars have been reported in city neighborhoods and I read they are shot. I am hoping we wouldn't have to shoot one if we encounter it. They mostly keep to themselves and if we can just not surprise one into attacking we'll be fine, I hope. That's my plan.
Here's a link to what one sounds like. The scream we heard last night seemed a little higher pitched than this but you'll get the idea!
BTW, our two cats were safe.