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Cougars

 cougar_mtn_lion

The cougar (mountain lion) is an awesome animal. Here are some fast facts about this cool cat.

Here, There, Everywhere Cats

  • Cougars live in different kinds of places or habitats. Some live very close to cities including San Diego and Los Angeles, California and Denver, Colorado. Cougars can be found in northern forests, deserts, and tropical rain forests, too.

  • Cougars need large areas of open space. They travel over great distances or "home ranges" on the lookout for prey or mates.

  • Lately, more and more people have moved into "cougar country." They've built roads and houses there. As a result, many cougars have been crowded out, losing much of their home ranges.

  • Many people are doing all they can to create corridors of connected wilderness areas for cougars (and other wild animals).

Staying Safe in Cougar Country

Most cougars avoid people. The cougars that have attacked people are usually mothers fiercely defending their kittens--or old, starving, or sick cougars.

It's very unlikely you'll ever meet up with an angry cougar. Still, if you live or play in cougar country, it's smart to be cautious. Here are some stay-safe tips:

  1. Don't hike, backpack, or camp alone. Make noise and keep talking when you hike.
  2. Don't leave food around at a cabin or campsite. 
  3. Don't feed wildlife or leave pet food outside at home.
  4. Don't play outdoors at dusk, dawn, or at night — that's when cougars hunt. 
  5. Keep pets from roaming around outside. If they must stay outside, give them a fenced area with a roof.

 If you do happen to meet a cougar: 

  • Don't run away.
  • Don't block the animal's path - give it an escape route. Often it will want to avoid you.
  • Slowly back away from the cougar with raised arms and open jacket (to make yourself look larger), while talking calmly in a deep, loud voice.

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