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The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.



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Saturday, April 15, 2017

"M" IS FOR MOUNTAIN LIONS (#AtoZChallenge)



Today's #A to Z Bloggers Challenge" letter of the day is M so I am writing about sharing our community with our local wildlife -- "M" IS FOR MOUNTAIN LIONS.



All photos from American Expedition
We live east of Sacramento, CA in the foothills elevation of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains, an area we share with lots of native wildlife, including mountain lions and black bears.  While bears tend to be garbage can pests, mountain lions can be killers!   The big cats typically go after deer, coyotes, foxes, domestic pests and farm animals. Unfortunately, our neighborhood was the site of one of the rare fatal attacks on a 40 year old women who was running on a local trail in April, 1994.  Here is her story from the LA Times:
Trackers Hunt Mountain Lion That Killed Jogger 

COOL, Calif. — Trackers hunted Tuesday for the mountain lion they say stalked and killed a jogger in the rugged Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Sacramento. The mutilated body of Barbara Schoener, 40, was discovered Sunday in the isolated Auburn Lake Trails area of El Dorado County. Sheriff's detectives said she had been attacked by a cougar that bit her neck and crushed her skull, then dragged the partially consumed body about 300 feet and buried it under leaves and debris. Experts said mountain lions often conceal their prey and return when they are hungry. The Sheriff's Department, releasing preliminary autopsy results, said in a written statement that Schoener apparently was running along the trail when the lion jumped onto the path about 20 feet behind her and attacked her from the rear. The force of the animal's assault knocked her off the path down a steep slope. She struggled to her feet, was attacked, then moved farther down the slope "to a location where the final attack occurred," the sheriff's report said. Investigators said the 120-pound, 5-foot-8 Schoener tried to fight off the animal. "Defensive wounds on Barbara's forearms and hands make it apparent she did struggle with the lion," the sheriff's report said.  A lion's prints were identified on and near the path. State experts said Schoener is believed to be the first person this century killed in California in a mountain lion attack. In 1909, a woman and child in Santa Clara County were attacked and died later from rabies. Mountain lion trackers using dogs sealed off a 4,200-acre portion of the recreational area to hunt for the cougar. They planned to kill the animal to prevent further attacks on humans, said Pete Weisser, a spokesman for the state Fish and Game Department. "The (lion's) behavior is likely to be repeated," Weisser said. "We are still tracking. We are still looking. When we find it, we'll shoot it."   -- April 27, 1994| From Associated Press 

OUR ENCOUNTER

We have lived in Cool for 38 years and have yet to see a mountain lion.  We have, however, HEARD the cries of a female cougar in heat!   Early one morning while my husband was getting ready for work he heard what he thought was a female neighbor screaming.  I was called outside to also listen and we decided to call our local security guards to investigate a possible domestic violence situation.  Knocks on our neighbors' door produced no one and life moved on.  The next day we were discussing the screams with another neighbor and she confirmed hearing the screams but they were attributed to a MOUNTAIN LION IN HEAT!  

I keep looking for wildlife in our unfenced backyard but our own "critter cam" has only captured deer and turkeys.  Others, however, have posted lots of photos of mountain lions on YouTube. To experience a prowling mountain lion from a backyard "critter cam" click this 2:38 YouTube Video and listen to the the first :30 of screaming!  
Direct link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxo8X5uIWRE




My reason for blogging today about mountain lions is because we are having a lot of sightings of these big cats co-mingling with humans throughout our El Dorado County neighborhoods in search of food. Recent Facebook postings include stories of mountain lions jumping on horses in a corral, strolling residential streets, hanging out in playgrounds, and even entering a home through the front door and checking out the kitchen where the family had taken refuge.  Thankfully, no one has been hurt.

Mountain lions have a round heads and erect ears.

LIVING IN MOUNTAIN LION TERRITORY

Our local El Dorado County Ag Dept. has published the following information supplied by the US Department of Agriculture about sharing our neighborhoods with mountain lions.  Link to the source here: 
Now that people and mountain lions occupy so much of the same geographical areas in California, encounters are expected to increase. If you live in mountain lion habitat, here's what you can do to reduce your chances of encountering a mountain lion near your home:
  • DON'T FEED WILDLIFE: By feeding deer, raccoons or other wildlife in your yard, you will inadvertently attract mountain lions, which prey upon them. 
  • "DEER-PROOF" YOUR LANDSCAPE: 
  • Avoid using plants that deer prefer eat; if your landscaping attracts deer, mountain lions may be close by. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a brochure entitled "Gardening To Discourage Deer Damage" available at most Department offices. 
  • LANDSCAPE FOR SAFETY: Remove dense and/or low-lying vegetation that would provide good hiding places for mountain lions, especially around children's play areas; make it difficult for mountain lions to approach your yard unseen. 
  • INSTALL OUTDOOR LIGHTING: Keep the perimeter of your house well lit at night- especially along walkways - to keep lions visible. 
  • KEEP PETS SECURE: Roaming pets are easy prey for hungry mountain lions. Either bring pets inside or keep them in a kennel with a secure top. Don't feed pets outside; this can attract other mountain lion prey. 
  • KEEP LIVESTOCK SECURE: Where practical, place livestock in enclosed sheds and barns at night, and be sure to secure all outbuildings. 
  • KEEP CHILDREN SAFE: Keep a close watch on children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside between dusk and dawn. Teach your children what to do if they encounter a lion. 

MORE INFO:  A CAT BY MANY NAMES

Mountain lions, the largest wild cat in North America, go by many names.  Most commonly they are called Cougars, Panthers, or Pumas and males can weigh about 200 pounds, about one-third bigger than females.  This link will give you a lot more detail about these big cats as predators:
Mountain lions are excellent jumpers. 
Their average length of head and body is 3-5 feet, and their tail is 2-2.7 feet long. Their tail, measuring nearly one-third of their total length, gives them excellent balance. When stalking and attacking prey, mountain lions utilize extraordinary leaping abilities. They are capable of running jumps exceeding 40 feet and standing vertical leaps of up to 15 feet.


SHARING OUR LANDS

Foothill residents will be the first to acknowledge the wildlife called our area home long before we did.  We live adjacent to the Auburn State Recreation Area and the 2700 acres within our Auburn Lake Trails are a protected wildlife area and no hunting is allowed.  Major wildland fires have depleted the food sources and protective forestry at higher elevations in the Sierra range and now the wildlife and moved into residential areas in search of food. We all need to be aware of ALL our neighbors.  Be safe running and riding the trails and even walking your pet at night.  I know I do!A

THIS JUST IN:  A mountain lion snatched a dog from the owner's bed:  Sacramento Bee article http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article145140424.html



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MONDAY:  "N STANDS FOR ________"







2 comments:

Sonrisa said...

Very interesting blog about the mountain lions, thank you for sharing!
Heidi at, Decibel Memos (Perspectives absent of sound)

Emily Bloomquist said...

We saw one about 15 years ago in Yosemite Valley. Almost no people were around as it was still winter. Makes your heart beat fast, that's for sure! Stay safe.

Emily | My Life In Ecuador