Cougars are strong…smart too

Cougars are ex­quis­itely built killing ma­chines cap­able of tak­ing down an an­im­al sev­en times their size. But this strength can’t be fully ap­pre­ci­ated un­less witnessed.

A 2001 video taken in New Mexico shows a 70-kilo­gram (150-pound) cou­gar tack­ling a 120-kilogrom (265-pound) mule deer.maxablebcr2.jpg

The strength of the cou­gar as it takes down this deer is in­cred­ible. Even be­ing kicked re­peatedly in the head by sharp hooves does not per­suade the cat to let go. And when its ini­tial at­tempts to kill the deer don’t work, the cou­gar em­ploys a new strategy.

Don’t for­get to watch the tip of the cougar’s tail.

2 Replies to “Cougars are strong…smart too”

  1. In July, I was sit­ting on my front porch in Port Burwell, Ontario. It’s south of Woodstock, On and backs onto Port Burwell Provincial Park on Lake Erie.

    Some re­l­at­ives went down to the beach for a birth­day camp­fire around 10 pm, and I de­clined, as
    usu­al, be­cause it’s dark and my knees are bad in the sand (and
    every­where else). So they left me on the front porch and there was no
    one around. No traffic, nothing.

    So I stayed on the porch, had a glass or two of wine and sa­voured how
    nice it was to be there, when I saw this big an­im­al lop­ing down the
    side of the road to­ward the front of the house in the gravel and
    mak­ing a fairly good clip.

    At first I thought it was maybe a coyote, then maybe a really big dog
    without a col­lar and and without a leash-hold­ing own­er, either of which scen­ari­os could be po­ten­tially bad news for a lone Homo Sapien. When it got really close I real­ized it was a cou­gar, a really big one, and not the
    kind cou­gar you see in the club dis­trict. I was not scared be­cause it
    happened by so fast (and kept mov­ing), but it was only about 12 feet away and I did­n’t know what to do.

    So I just sat there watch­ing it go by. When this thing passed by he/​she
    gave me a really dirty look, as if to say: “Yo, stu­pid mon­key thing,
    don’t even think about do­ing what you’re think­ing of do­ing.” Actually,
    what I was think­ing was that there was no way I could’ve jumped over a
    bunch Adirondack chairs and got­ten in­side the house be­fore it made a
    couple of simple jumps, got­ten past the Andirondack chairs and had me
    by the back of the throat.

    Thank God it was­n’t hungry.

    Anyway, it made a right turn and headed into the bush next to the
    Parks Dept. park­ing lot. Haven’t seen it since, but there seems to be
    few­er em­ploy­ees stand­ing around the Parks Dept. park­ing lot. It was a
    beau­ti­ful-look­ing creature, but you don’t really want to see one of
    them out­side the African Safari.

    In my sub­sequent con­ver­sa­tions with a re­port­er the loc­al Aylmer Express who talked to a Ministry of­fi­cial and, after my own on­line re­search, all of us fig­ure it was not a wild cou­gar, more likely an es­caped or re­leased (!) pet who had grown too large. Why else would it be walk­ing be­side a road and not creep­ing through the woods? Wild cou­gars, once pre­val­ent in south­west­ern ontario, are thought to have been hunted out dur­ing the 19th Century, but there have been a few sight­ings and some think they might be mak­ing a comeback.

    No one else saw it. While it was headed to­ward the park, the Parks people were not in­ter­ested, but no one and no pets got hurt. It was kind of like a “Jaws” mo­ment. Or a UFO kid­nap­ping story. No pics. No one be­lieved me. Tracks, how­ever, have been seen on the beach by others.

    A beau­ti­ful and fas­cin­at­ing creature and I feel lucky to have seen one so close and sur­vived to tell about it. I think the eye con­tact may have saved my life.

    My broth­er, Dave, saw a bob­cat walk­ing by the house last night. Bobbed tail. Nowhere near as large as the cou­gar, but that’s an­oth­er story. We’ve lived here sev­en years and not seen any big cats before. 

    Good luck with your book. I’ll have to pick up a copy, for sure.

    Sincerely,
    Paul March,
    3 Chatham Street, Port Burwell, On.

    1. Hi Paul,

      What a thrill­ing, al­beit scary, few mo­ments for you! Making eye con­tact was def­in­itely the right thing to do. And if you had leaped back to­ward the house, that move­ment may have triggered the cou­gar’s chase and kill instinct. 

      It’s es­tim­ated there are more than 500 cou­gars roam­ing around Ontario and, you’re right, some are prob­ably es­caped or de­lib­er­ately re­leased pets.

      Sounds like you live in a lovely spot…and now you know a bit more about who your wild neigh­bours are.

      All the best,
      Paula

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