This morning I had new prints under my bedroom window. A Puma (Puma concolor), with 6 inch paws. Yes, a cougar, a ghostwalker. Goodness, we haven’t seen one for 2 years in the neighborhood. Not since one walked down our road with impunity one day. All the neighbor’s called each other and brought their dogs in.
My dog went crazy last night, but fireworks were going off. My belief is Peeping Tom Cat was here this morning between 8 am and noon because I got another inch of snow that stopped about 8 am and the tracks do not have snow in them. If they had, I wouldn’t have known what they were. Never mind that I shoveled snow not 10 feet from that spot… between 9 am and 10 am.
My guess is that when I made Little Guy a seat in the bedroom window so he could see out, I made a temptation for every predator in the ‘hood. He’s looking like snack du jour on display in the grocer’s window. I guess I would look like this week’s neverending leftovers.
Off all wildlife here, I fear mountain lions the most. They are cats, after all. They can leap over 20 feet. Ghostwalkers are carnivores that attack from behind. I read that young puma only hunt and eat what their mama trains them to eat. Okay, but not a good idea to test that hypothesis. A female runs 80 to 100 pounds and a male up to 200 pounds. Solitary males or females can take down a 700 pound bull elk. They ambush from trees, too. Puma eat a variety of small mammals, even rats. They are the apex predator in my Food Forest and as such are an indicator of a healthy ecosystem.
Good news, right?
I did not see my visitor. It was either a large female or small male. Although they look much like a female African lion, DNA shows them to be part of the panther family. Because they are a large predator their US range has shrunk to the western half of our country. I will take care and go armed at all times. I am not Quick Draw McGraw and don’t have eyes in the back of my head, so I am counting on the fact that I am not Ghostwalker’s favorite food supply. Puma have huge ranges that can be a couple hundred square miles. Not just my 5 acres, another plus for me.
Puma are my biggest concern for my sunken garden. From the top edge, a Puma could leap down on me or my dog. I want to plant prickly pear above the garden… but realistically, ghostwalker is a tree climber. And window peeker.
I went out this morning and shoveled my truck a path to the bladed part of my driveway. Yay! It is supposed to get up to 37°F tomorrow. That should melt enough off to get me out of here. With my shoveling, I am likely to have a clear path. It won’t clear it all off, but enough to get out. I need a nap.