Tracking Cougars

Tracking Cougars

Cougars make a living by not being seen. In areas disturbed by humans, these cats are most active at dusk and early in the morning. In low-light conditions, cougars see up to six times better than humans. However, cougars can be active at dawn or dusk if the prey is active at that time.

Cougars tracks

The Cougars leave soft traces, meaning the animals make very little contact with the ground and their tracks can be virtually invisible in packed dirt or crusted snow. To maintain their prey acuity, these animals keep their claws retracted most of the time, so claw marks are rarely visible in their tracks. The underside may leave sanding marks between each print.

Cougar droppings

Cougars usually cover their droppings with loose soil. When visible, their excrement generally resembles that of most feline and canine species. However, the pumas have well-developed premolars that cut through the bones and hide. After killing a large animal and filling it, a puma often blank the remains with rubble such as snow, grass, leaves, sticks, or floor. These cuts rarely remove much bark; Tree clawing that removes a lot of bark is probably the work of a bear. (Lynx claw marks are typically 2 to 3 feet off the ground; domestic cat scratches occur at about 1½ to 2 feet.) Cougar tracks are about the size of a baseball and 3 to 3½ inches in diameter.

Cougar Feeding Areas (caches)

Cougars usually carry or drag their prey to a secluded, covered area to feed, and trail marks are commonly found at recently killed locations. After a mountain lion kills a large animal and eats its fill, it often covers the remains with debris like snow. , grass, leaves, sticks or soil. Even if there is little debris, bits of dirt, rocks, grass, or sticks can be used to cover the carcass. The cougar can remain in close proximity to its prey, protecting it from scavengers and eating it for a period of six to eight days. (Meat spoils quickly in summer and male cougars must patrol their territory. Often these males will kill, eat their fill, go out to patrol the area, and return days later to feed on the carcasses.) Do not approach or stand near a freshly killed or partially covered deer or elk.

Claw Marks

Like house cats scratching furniture, cougars mark their territory boundaries by leaving claw marks on trees, stumps, and occasionally fence posts.The claw marks left by an adult cougar will be 4 to 8 feet above the ground and consist of long, deep, parallel scratches that run nearly vertically down the trunk. These cuts rarely remove much bark; the tree claw removing a lot of bark is probably the work of a bear.. (Bobcat claw marks are normally
2 to 3 feet above the ground; domestic cat scratching occurs at a height of about 1½ to 2 feet). Cougar traces are about the size of a baseball, 3 to 3½ inches in diameter.


Cougars hiss, purr, meow, growl, howl, chirp, and cry. The most sensational sounds they make are the eerie howls and moans that can be heard at night during the mating season, especially when competing males have intentions. to the same receptive woman. Such wailing has been compared to the cry of a child, the cry of a woman, and the cry of someone in terrible pain.

Preventing conflicts with cougars

The puma’s ability to travel great distances occasionally leads these cats into seemingly unsuitable territories, even places densely populated by humans. Such appearances are almost always brief, and the animal moves quickly in search of a suitable permanent home. However, where humans encroach on wildlife habitat, cougar sightings and attacks on livestock and pets increase.

Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare. About 25 fatalities and 95 nonfatal attacks have been reported in North America over the past 100 years. However, more puma attacks have been reported in the western United States and Canada in the last 20 years than in the previous 80 years. In Washington, of the fatal and fifteen nonfatal attacks reported here over the past 100 years, seven attacks occurred in the 1990s.

A high percentage of cougars attacking pets or humans are one to two-year-old cougars who have become independent of their mothers. When these young animals, particularly the males, leave home to seek their own territory and come across a territory already occupied by an older male cougar, the older male will chase off the younger one and kill him if he resists. Some young cougars are herded for miles through the countryside in search of unoccupied territory.

If you live in a cougar country, avoid conflicts with them by using the following management strategies on your property and, if possible, encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Do not leave small children unattended. If children are playing outside, supervise them closely and make sure they are inside before dark.

Change the living space around your home. Light up all sidewalks after dark and avoid landscaping with plants that deer love to eat. Where a deer goes, a cougar can follow. Shrubs and trees around children’s playgrounds should be cut several times. A 10-foot-tall chain-link fence, or a heavy wire mesh fence with 3-foot extensions installed at a 65-degree angle on each post, while expensive and not 100 percent effective, can keep cougars out of the woods. To increase effectiveness, run a barbed wire or four electrical wires between extension cords, alternating positive and negative wires.

Do not feed wild animals or feral cats (domestic cats that have gone feral). This includes deer, raccoons, and other small mammals. Remember that predators follow their prey.

Close open spaces under buildings. Areas under porches and decks can provide shelter for prey.

Food for dogs and cats in the house. If you should feed outside, do it in the morning or at noon, and collect food and water bowls as well as residues and spilled food, long before darkness.

For a bigger property with livestock, think about using a guard animal. There are specialized breeds of dogs that can defend livestock. Buy a guard animal from a reputable breeder who knows the animal they are selling. Some breeders offer several guarantees in guard animals, including a replacement if an animal does not work as expected.

What do you do if you see a cougar?

Relatively few people will ever see a cougar, let alone come face to face with one. When faced with a Cougar, your actions may assist or prevent a quick retreat from the animal. Here are some things to remember:

• Stop, take small kids immediately, and do not run.. Running and fast movements can trigger an attack. Remember that a cougar’s instinct at close range is to hunt.

• Confront the cougar. Speak firmly as you slowly back away. It always leaves the animal an exhaust route. If it shows signs of aggression (crouching down with ears flat, baring teeth, hissing, wagging its tail, and moving its hind legs in preparation to pounce), yell, wave your arms, and throw something always available (water bottle, book, backpack). ). The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey but a potential threat.

• If the cougar attacks, counterattack. Be aggressive and try to stay on your feet. Cougars were scared off by humans, who would defend themselves with anything within reach, including sticks, rocks, shovels, backpacks, and clothes, even without clothes. Hands. If you’re aggressive enough, a cougar will run away and realize they made a mistake. The pepper spray on the surface of the pumping is also effective in the extreme illusion of a narrow encounter with a Puma.

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