Thought I would keep with the theme from last post and bring you another set of shots taken at Wildlife Prairie Park. As with the last post, these were also taken in April 2011. You might be glad to know that I am only one trip away from closing out all the shoots through 2012. With the time off over the holidays I’ve been spending extra time in the digital darkroom previewing, selecting, post processing and preparing them for upload to our gallery. This means PLENTY of fodder for the blog well into next year. Also gives me the chance to think about a blog project for January I’ve been chewing on for awhile now – stay tuned on that. Until then, let’s talk about a cute little kitty.
Okay, maybe not so little and for most more on the threatening side than cute, but still a member of the cat family. As with all cats apparently, a purebred killer – all that really differs between them is the size of their prey. These particular cats enjoy the tasty flesh of deer, elk, moose, sheep and can probably include cattle in that category. As opposed to those domestic cats (which these bigger cats are genetically closer to than lions according to our friends over at Wikipedia) which tend to reign terror over the local birds and mice.
Hit the jump to view a few more shots of this killing machine
I have always been a little confused at what to actually call this particular animal. Depending on where you go you will hear it referred to as a Mountain Lion, others Cougar and in some cases even Puma. All appear to be correct along with about 37 other names according to Wikipedia. The reference to Mountain Lion appears to be somewhat incorrect since their range is far beyond just mountains and get this .. they can’t even roar like lions – weak. Although Puma appears categorically correct, I have always kept that name for Black Jaguars which in my humble opinion is the coolest looking cat on the planet. Jaguars are also stronger than Cougars making them cooler AND more deadly. Cougar is my name of choice for the tan specimen shown here and I’ll try and refrain from making jokes about older women on the prowl … but no promises on that. As a note, I especially like the paw pose in the shot above – kinda gives that take me home and let me play with your children look .. me? fangs? claws?.. crazy talk.. just bring me your kids. For a quick comparison, here is a similar pose that gives a more menacing perspective. A perspective that implies if I choose to I can leap 18 feet high, 40 some feet horizontally and sprint in the 45mph range. That is, if I choose to leave the comfort of my bed. There is a sense of sadness knowing that this Cougar will never get to feel the adrenaline of the hunt or the sweat smells of freedom, but it is at least comforting that the curators of the park have made a respectable habitat and treat their animals very well.
If there is a bad side to these creatures is that they essentially share the exact same prey preferences as Wolves. Clearly I fall in the Wolf camp when it comes to choices (although not much of a choice .. canines over kitties? is there really even a decision there .. ha!). Not to fond of the idea that they need to compete for food but I think the Wolves have been doing okay in their limited regions – compared to the Cougar which has the benefit of the largest range of any wild land animal in the Americas. Hmmmm, they kill livestock, and the same game animals as the Wolf but you generally do not see the same hatred shown to the Cougar as the Wolf – and these sneaky devils don’t even fight out in the open preferring to be all stealthy ninja like leaping onto their prey from the shadows (we’ll just gloss over the fact that these cats are predominantly solitaire as opposed to the packs of the Wolfs.. but did I mention their sneaky bastards?)
Don’t be fooled, this Cougar isn’t taking a siesta. Clearly it is calculating the distance to the platform I was standing on, making sure the top legs are in the right position for maximum leverage and …. hey, look at the time, we’ll be moving on now.
I should probably point out something before it undoubtedly shows up in the comments. Wikipedia was quick to point out (multiple times I might add) that one was shot in Chicago. Personally, I can’t for the life of me figure out why that is so surprising – surely there is more than one Cougar hanging out North of I-80 and East of I-39 .. surely. My catalog system just failed me – while writing this I was searching for a Beware of Cougar sign I took a Phoadtography picture of while up in Richmond Illinois – that means my hilarious Cougar joke will have to wait – bummer
For now, meow you later.