Saturday, July 10, 2010

They're baaack...

Approximately 5 years ago, a citizen of rural Wichita County confided in me that there was at least one Mountain Lion within the Wichita County borderlines. A few people had mentioned to her that they had seen one at different times but she, herself, did not put much stock in what they had said until she experienced the growl of one close to her chicken house one night.

Honestly, I did not pay much attention to this until yesterday, when a friend of mine told me all about her personal encounter with this beast. I could but I will not give out her name at this time. I will tell you that she lives northwest of Leoti. One recent earlyorning, was on her way to Leoti when a very large animal lurged across the dirt road in front of her. It was a very dark cat. It's size was comparable to a calf. She was extremely startled by what she had just observed. Later that day, she shared her experience with a co-worker who told her that he had heard several reports of Mountain Lions in Wichita County though he had not personally seen any of them.

Weeks later, her husband was returning to their home when he saw a large animal on the road ahead of him. He was flabberghasted when he realized that it was a mountain lion scrunched up to have a bowel movement. He stopped his pick-up and waited until the very large cat had finished and disappeared into a field. Today, she laughs when she relays the information that he was so excited that he fetched her from their home and took her to the location so that she could see the BM. She told me that it was approximately the same size as of what a very large dog would produce.

I thought that I would pass some more information on mountain lions to you.

The average length of a Mountain Lion from their head to the end of the body is 3 1/4 foot to 5 1/4 foot. Their tails are also long--approximately 23-33 inches long. The average weight of one is 136 pounds. Now, THAT'S a big cat!!!

This lion does not like to share their territory with others and are constantly on the look-out for invaders. Only a few mountain lions live in a 30 mile radius of one another.

Mountain Lions were placed n the endangered list many years ago. Farmers and ranchers hated them for killing their livestock so prized hunts were encouraged from Florida to Canadian Forests. Due to the fact that there has been a substantial increase in herds of whitetail deer, these cats are starting to move into such states as Missouri and Arkansas. Biologists believe that if humans will just allow the Mountain Lion to live naturally, it's population will increase to the point that sport hunts can once agan be offered.

These mammals who prefer to live alone, eat large deer, porcupines, racoons, and coyotes. They hunt in the dark of night or during dawn and dusk. If they kill a large animal, they will eat off of it for several days before they hunt again.

Mountain Lions do NOT normally attack humans. There are usually only 4 Mountain Lion/Human attacks in which one human fatality occurs in the United States and Canada every year. The humans are usually children or an adult who is alone at the time.

Anyway, I find this to be quite interesting. As a human who sometimes prefers the company of animals, I hope that this animal makes a healthy comeback here. Last year, I was told that the coyote numbers had climbed to a dangerous high. I believe that mountain lions can reduce their numbers to a healthier level which in turn, would provide less natural enemies for livestock.

I understand that most MountainLion sightings in Wichita County have been along the Ladder Creek.

Mountain lions are also known as Pumas, Cougars and Catamounts.


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