Wednesday, January 16, 2013

She's (or He's) Back -- the Mountain Lion, that is ...

She's back! Or maybe she was never gone ...

We just have a dusting of snow, and again, big kitty paw prints show up, surrounding our house. I wouldn't mind so much if the paw prints didn't circle our house -- it's like she is hunting for something in the house. I am thankful mountain lions can't open doors or windows.  I also know Neko is communicating with her. In the last couple of days, Neko has been running from window to window (and we practically live in a glass house), howling and stalking. He obviously sees something we don't.

It dawned on me today that I only notice the paw prints when there is snow on the ground. And it seems to be every time there is snow on the ground. Now part of me wants to think that the lion only comes around when it snows, but it more logical to think that she is there all the time, but we only notice her when it snows. Hmmm.

We have lived in Roxborough since 1986 and have been visited by mountain lions several times even though we have never actually seen one. Some of the neighbors have seen them and even taken pictures of them. Our first experience with a mountain lion is when one killed a deer in our driveway and dragged the carcass under our swing set. The boys were just pre-schoolers at the time (they are now 25 and 28), so we were a little more worried at the time than we are now. I called the wildlife department after we found the deer and asked what to do. They told me that as long as we had deer around, we don't need to worry about our children. I asked them if the mountain lions knew this as well; did they send a brochure to the mountain lions?  As long as everyone knows the rules, we should be fine, right?

Before you start thinking that we are crazy to live in an area with lions around, there are a few times that you need to remember:

First, lions are nocturnal so they hunt when we are asleep. I also understand that they are most active at dawn, and that's when I am making coffee. If they want to come in and have a cup, that is fine; other than that, they don't bother me.

Second, lions like deer. I am not a deer. I think I am safe.

Third, they don't like animals that fight back. They hunt deer and rabbits and such -- animals that run away. I don't run, but I would have no trouble socking a lion in the nose. No fear.

Fourth, I have Neko. Neko will take on anything. That's why he is not an outside cat.  We strongly believe in preserving our local wildlife and we do our part by keeping Neko out of their way.

The truth is that I am not that worried about mountain lions in the neighborhood. Yes, we have to be aware of them and careful when outside, but that is one of the pleasures of living in the Colorado foothills.  We share our surroundings with coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, bears, and thousands of birds, including owls and eagles. It is worth it.


  1. I too have every type of wild life here and this week battling a badger that has come in too close. We have had Mountain Lion right on my driveway about 20 feet from my door as I went out to do chores. Since I have goats I keep a very close eye round the clock. Be Careful - I carry a bit hunting knife and also a hatch clipped to me when I work outside and expecially when I do my 2 hour checks through the night...

    1. I am afraid for your goats! Do you want to borrow Neko for awhile?
      Actually Larkspur has more wildlife than we do. Be careful!

  2. Just keep the door might fix them a cup of coffee in the early morning....but I am pretty sure you would rather they be invited inside..