Deb D’Andrea , Nederland
While many rarely get a glimpse of a mountain lion, I have noticed a recent increase in reported encounters being shared throughout our mountain neighborhoods. There could be many reasons for this increase of encounters. It could be more people are moving into mountain lion habitat or maybe there is an increase of lions and thus, an increase in their range; or maybe more people are hiking and exploring in mountain lion territory.
I have my personal theory that the mountain lions have been displaced, along with many other animals, due to the flood waters of 2013, concentrating them in habitats less affected by the water.
Our choice to live amongst these amazing creatures safely is a choice we make, and one where we need to take precautions for us, our pets, our children, and, of course, the wildlife. Some guidelines to follow are: closely supervise pets and children when outside, and get everyone inside between dusk to dawn as this is when mountain lions are most active.
If your pets have to go outside at night to do their business, go out with them with a flashlight and them on leash. Light walkways and entranceways at night, including decks and below balconies, and modify your landscape to eliminate places mountain lions can hide.
Pets should be brought in at night, as they are easy prey. If you feed your pets outside, clean up their bowls and any remaining food so as not to attract critters like raccoons or porcupines that mountain lions naturally eat. Don’t allow your pet to roam freely, as they are easy prey for mountain lions; and if a pet approaches a mountain lion kill, there is a high probability the mountain lion will protect its food.
Mountain lion populations range upwards of 7,000, existing only in the Western Hemisphere, and are one of the biggest cats in North America. In the wild, they live for approximately 12 years, typically feeding on deer and elk. Bears, other lions, and wolves are some of their natural enemies. They are tawny to light cinnamon in color with black-tipped ears and tail, with their tail measuring one-third of their total length. Males are larger than females, weighing in at around 150 pounds, with females around 70 pounds.
I am hopeful we will continue to live peacefully with the magnificent creatures of the Rocky Mountains, safely enjoying their beauty and elegance. If you are online, please watch the “Mountain Lion Safety” video from the Colorado Parks & Wildlife at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/NewsMedia/Videos/Pages/mountainlionsafety.aspx
Till next time…
Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.4theluvofdogz.com