photo courtesy of J. Wassink
The Colorado mountain lion is a beautiful animal. Very shy of humans, they usually only appear during the night, between dusk and dawn.
They have a long, sleek body, tan to golden coat. The cats weigh in between 80-200 pounds.
Big cat attacks on people are very rare. Either the animals have to be very hungry or humans have come close to their den where they have cubs.
Here in the Rocky Mountains, the big cats are being seen more and more at lower elevations.
Their habitat is being taken away by the encroachment of human development.
A few years ago, cougars were seen in back yards in a foothill lowland town. One cat in particular invaded a yard and took off with the family pet.
Sad as this is, the mountain lion is a predator and hunter. Anything is fair game. Their usual fare is deer, small wild animals, small pets and sometimes trash cans.
Cougar families consist of a male, female and cubs. They have their own territorial range and usually stay there.
Anywhere there are rocks, outcroppings or caves, you will probably find a den. The pair mate in the early spring and cubs are born the next spring.
And yes, we do live with a few of these beautiful creatures up on our mountain.
A few years ago, the Division of Wildlife visited us during the summer to let us know that 3 lions had been spotted within a mile of our property.
They explained all about them, and told us to be cautious with ourselves and our dogs, especially between dusk and dawn.
We have always been aware of the predators around our property and respect them. During the summer, we have heard their growl in the middle of the night.
It sounds like a house cat growl only about 100 times louder. I may be exaggerating about the 100 times. Sure seemed like it.
Living here all these years, of course I have a funny story about our cougars. One summer quite awhile back, my husband was working on our driveway near the house.
It was getting dark and I called Jim to come in and have dinner. He had all his tools out and the shed open and told me he still had some daylight left and he wanted to finish.
Well, just then, in the woods behind him, came this blood curdling growl. He said, "I'm done!", dropped his shovel, speed walked into the house and locked the door.
We have never seen a big cat in the flesh. Hope we don't but we know they're out there roaming our property.
We coexist with our wild neighbors and respect them as well. After all, they were here first.