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.)