Cougars are excellent swimmers

Although many cats don’t like water, cou­gars are excel­lent swim­mers. And they don’t just go for little dips either. One, wear­ing a GPS col­lar, was tracked swim­ming 6.5 kilo­metres from down­town Nanaimo to Gabriola Island.

In the last two years I’ve seen four YouTube videos fea­tur­ing cou­gars swim­ming off Vancouver Island and the BC main­land. And in each video, the big cat went straight for the boat.

Was it curi­ous or had its chase instinct been triggered by the fast mov­ing object? Who knows, per­haps it just wanted to hitch a ride.

As curi­ous as you may be, there are doc­u­mented cases of cou­gars attempt­ing to climb into mov­ing boats so it’s best not to get too close.

A friend who loves to kayak asked what she should do if she saw a cou­gar swim­ming towards her kayak. My advice: pray, pre­pare your bear spray and paddle like hell!

This is one of my favour­ite swim­ming cou­gar videos. (It’s at the end of the art­icle.)

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2 Responses to Cougars are excellent swimmers

  1. Martin says:

    I bet see­ing one swim­ming like this is more rare to see than actu­ally see­ing one.

    • Paula says:

      Yes, see­ing a swim­ming cou­gar is rare. But I think they swim from island to island more often than people real­ize. Digital cam­er­as and Youtube allow this amaz­ing sight to be shared with a much wider audi­ence than in the past. It’s amaz­ing how strong and fast they are in the water, as well as on land!

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