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Cougar Information


attack victim Habituation:  Because they tend to be nocturnal creatures relying on stealth, for the most part mountain lions are seldom seen. However, in an increasing number of communities, they have learned to live near humans, frequently and boldly showing themselves at all hours of the day to a creature which continues to show them no threat. A few years ago a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put GPS Global Tracking devices on several lions in Southern California. He tracked one lion who would hide in the heavy brush and watch hikers walk by on a popular hiking trail. During a testing weekend, dozens of people passed within a few feet of the lion but no one saw him.

Daylight attacks common: Because we are out and about in the daytime, keep in mind that biologist and cougar researcher Paul Beier's Table of Attacks shows most attacks on humans occur in daylight hours.

The Role of Protections: With protections in place for them at the same time that urban areas provide easy and tempting prey such as housecats and dogs, intelligent, opportunistic cougars are found more and more in populated areas as well as in more remote regions. As a result of the current trend to protect and manage lion populations, increases in the numbers of these predators have resulted in more damage complaints and human encounters. Even a small mountain lion is able to injure or even kill a person. With physique and lungs designed for sprinting not endurance, they are ambush predators. Pound for pound they are rated as the strongest of all the big cats and that includes African lions. A 150-pound mountain lion can take down and kill a 1,000-pound bull elk within a matter of minutes. Unlike a wild animal which may attack a human because it is either surprised or feels threatened and/or feels its young is threatened, experts say a mountain lion more often attacks because you are basically food.

Last updated 07/28/2009
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