Sunday, November 7, 2010

wicked little things

There are all sorts of little dangers in this life. Yesterday I went rabbit hunting on the property (no luck) but came home to a dog tick on my neck, a reminder to check myself all over for deer ticks, who carry Lyme. Then while bringing in wood from the old pile I inherited with the house, I noticed the dead remains of a very odd spider on one of the logs, frozen in a crouch. I got out my spider guide book and confirmed it was a deceased Brown Recluse. A spider who's bite won't kill you, but will kill all the flesh and tissue where it bites. (Trust me, brown recluse bite is not something you want to pull up on Google Image Search...). I got a splinter deep in my palm later while feeding the stove, and read somewhere that a splinter in the bloodstream can get to your heart and kill you. I don't know if that's an old Wives' take of it it's truth: but the fact remains that out in the country there are plenty of wicked little things. You must be careful, always.

And then there are the big things.... Recently some folks at work who live in New York were talking about lion sightings in the area. One person watched one scamper across 313 between Arlington and Cambridge in broad daylight. Another saw one at the top of our driveway at our office parking lot (located in the middle of the woods). I have never seen a mountain lion, but the curiosity took over so I did some searching online. I came across a lot of discussions like this and saw several photos of what were absolutely mountain lions in county's south of me like this photo from Greene County. I'm no expert, but that is not a bobcat.

The DEC says (online, in an official statement): lions have been found and shot in the state, but only previously captive exotic pets. I'm not sure I buy it. Truth is the Adirondack State Park is the largest park in the lower 48. It's over 6.1 million miles of wilderness, bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, The Smokies, and Glacier park combined. It is larger than the entire state of Vermont. I find it hard to believe a few big cats don't call it home, and perhaps they straggle down here from time to time. Has anyone else in the Northeast heard any rumblings of big cats? Have you ever seen a lion in the wild? Are there any natural dangers in your area you need to be mindful of like grizzlies, snakes, or banjo-playing albinos?

73 Comments:

Blogger mamatronic said...

Maybe ask older people who've lived there all of their lives. We were at a park in central Texas and my daughter and I stumbled onto a mountain lion (this wasn't a very wooded area and gets heavy tourist traffic.) It was about 20 feet away from us and made the coughing sound of lions at the zoo. It was at least the size of my 120 lb dog. It had to have heard and seen us walking down this trail, yet didn't hurry away.

We were freaked but walked away quickly. All of the park rangers said I was imagining things and that it was a little bobcat. But I know what I saw.
We talked to older people from the area and they said it must been a cougar.

November 7, 2010 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Gail said...

There have been cougar sightings in Missouri so I'd be surprised if you didn't have them. We've got a black bear population that's growing-although they aren't as dangerous as a Grizz. In Denver(and the rest of Co.) Cougars attack and kill pets etc. wildlife is making a come back everywhere. I'm glad for that but it does require alertness to the danger.

November 7, 2010 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Hound Doggy said...

I agree...talk to the older people....they know.
I'm in Missouri and when I was younger I was standing in my yard and across the road, saw a big cat running across the open field. It was bigger than a coyote and ran like a cat. I too....know what I saw. I talked with an older hunter type guy and he confirmed that indeed we had the big cats here.
I guess the officials don't want to cause a panic.

In southern Missouri, in the hills, they have bears. I'd like to see one but I hope they don't move north anytime soon.

November 7, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Hound Doggy said...

Heh...Gail...your post wasn't there when I was writting mine.
Looks like a case of great minds think alike. :)

November 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

In Maine there is a report of a cougar being sited about every 3 months. We also have a wolf population. Neither of these species is the state willing to acknowledge as truly existing. The reason given is, if they are acknowledged a determination will then need to be made between listing them as protected or as a game species. If there is no official acknowledgement, then no decision needs to be made.

November 7, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger twistie said...

I was out trail riding a while back and came up on a couple other horse and rider combos and we chatted for a bit. During that chat I was told that we do have mountian lions in our area, in fact one of the riders had seen one run through her backyard in broad daylight, which consequently just happened to be the area near where we were riding, (central Maine) and my house! She called the game warden and was curtly told that we do not have them in this area. She knew what she saw as well.

November 7, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger twistie said...

Good to know doglady, I live in Maine too! Thanks for that post.

November 7, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Gelfling said...

I live in an suburban area where the biggest animal threat you face is a fox... however, I did come across a black widow spider in my backyard, crawling across our picnic table. Usually I don't smush spiders... but I crushed that one with my Doc Martens without any remorse. Once, my sister was driving home from work late one night and swore she saw a MONKEY scrambling up a telephone pole. She thought she was just way too tired. A few days later the local newspaper reported that someone's pet monkey had gotten loose. I will never doubt her again.

November 7, 2010 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

You're right, that's definitely no bobcat. We have many predator animals that pose problems for our livestock (see bobcat), but not many that make us fear for our own safety. I'd say around here, for us bipeds, poisonous snakes and spiders are the biggest concerns. And I NEVER want to have an encounter with a feral hog without being on the right end of a long gun.

November 7, 2010 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Tami SouthStreetShabby.blogspot.com said...

Jenna....
We have a co-worker that lives in Cato (western suburb of Syracuse) and they have indications of a cougar in the area. The DEC has been called and they were looking into it. This summer, a bear was sighted and reported on, inside (the south side) of the city limits of Syracuse, about 2-3 miles from me and just about in my friends backyard. Bears have been hit on Interstate Rte. 81 just south of here. I saw it happen myself about 15 years ago. There are stories of black cats in southern NYS...but..nobody wants to admit to it. :-)
**Tami

November 7, 2010 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger "Tis the gift to be simple" said...

Jenna,
They have been spotted in Lebanon,TN which is about 30 miles out side of Nashville,TN..
Of course the State said the folks that saw them where mistaken..
I don't think so..

Also, the State says its not true that they released wolfs back into the mt.. But there are folks that work for the Wildlife Agency that swear they helped released them.

BTW .. we now have Elk in East TN again.. in fact they have a small hunting season for them this year..
cool huh?

November 7, 2010 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Robbie Grey said...

We saw mountain lion tracks whilst out hiking this past winter, but never saw the cat itself, thankfully. I've seen two bears in as many years. Also, where I live, the high country of the Rocky Mountains, there is always the danger of a rock slide, lightning, or freezing in a blizzard if one is not prepared.

November 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

We keep hearing about bears near us, so far none on our property. My greatest danger seems to be me. Almost everytime I hurt myself, it's my own dumb fault. I need a stupidity alarm!

November 7, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

Very eventful day Jenna! If you get the majority of that splinter out and keep it clean the rest will work itself out.

It's funny how all the years I spent in N.Y I never even new about the Brown Recluse until I moved to KY. We stacked wood every year(without gloves most of the time) and never even gave it a second thought, guess we were quite lucky! You guys also have Timber Rattlers up there, but I was lucky enough not to have seen any of those either!

Yes, there are most certainly Mountain Lions up there! We used to be able to hear them in the woods behind our house, their screams will raise the hair on the back or your neck! As you said, the Adirondacks are huge and no one can say for sure what's running around up there. I swear I saw a wolf one morning near Old Forge on my way to work. People told me it was a coyote, but it was way too big and looked just like the wolves at the zoo. It was very white and in the mist it looked almost like a ghost, it stopped on the road and looked straight at me, then loped off into the woods. It's something I'll never forget.

Blessings,
Debi

November 7, 2010 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger elisa rathje said...

it is good to know what can hurt or kill you! i lived outside vancouver, canada most of my life, so you get to know what's there, and to be honest, there isn't a lot! certainly cougars and bears, but they are pretty rare and everyone alerts you when one is spotted. now we live in england and we're moving to the countryside, they don't even have bears...but still, i'm not familiar with the bugs, the fungi, the berries... so i shall have to go and ask the older people in the village!

heal well.

November 7, 2010 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

Rattle snakes, tarantulas, coyotes, scorpions, black widows, brown recluse, all manner of other venomous spider, rednecks with large caliber weapons and poor aim, stray pronghorns that randomly run across the road, and a variety of weather phenom that try to eat or otherwise destroy you. It's an adventure.

November 7, 2010 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Why is it the so-called experts can't believe that large predators have moved into their turf? What makes them think that regular joes who access to Google images don't recognize large predators when they see them?

Wolves and mountain lions have both been known to attack humans. I would seriously think about a side arm if I were you- you're all by yourself out there. Even deer are dangerous if they feel threatened, and know one thinks of Bambi as dangerous.

Brown recluse bites are pretty serious- the woman who originally sent me to Florida's grandfather and mother had two of the first eight bites reported in Florida many years ago (or so she told me). Her grandfather's leg finally had to be amputated because he had some underlying blood disorder they didn't know about- she showed me pictures of his necrotic leg as it progressively got worse- that's not something you forget.

November 7, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger E said...

Your neighbor in Vermont has seen them:http://flashweb.com/blog/2010/07/stop-panther.html

November 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

ugh I hate ticks. We have lots of them here. I have had to pull them off the critters - sheep, cows, horses and dogs a lot. Thankfully, not me yet. The jury is still out whether they can transmit Lyme though - they have been found to carry it - so be careful. They DO carry and transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (nasty business) though.
We also have mountain lions - we call them cougars. And they are freaky. My dad shot one with his bow that had crouched and then was sailing through the air towards him. They are beautiful and a lot larger than I ever thought.

November 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger bee*in*the*balm said...

i've seen a wolf in central vt and there have been rumors of catamount in the high ridges. of course the state says there's nothing there, but considering there's known wolf packs in quebec and they can easily travel 50-60 miles a day it's foolish to think they can't get across the border.

November 7, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Miriam said...

When we moved to our little property here on Vancouver Island I was a little worried about encountering a bear. But our first summer here a cougar was killed by conservation officers at the back of our property, which left me speechless - at least for a few minutes! Now we know that every 3 or 4 months someone will spot a cougar in the area and post a warning sign at the local general store for all the sheep and goat farmers here.

As an interesting side note, the conservation officers used beagles to track the cougar - beagles!

And then there's the (true) story of the cougar that was trapped in the 1980s in the underground parkade at the Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria...

November 7, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger MistySeptember said...

We've had mountain lion sightings here in Northern PA but the game commission denies it. My husband, a hunter, born and raised on a farm having seen many many wild animals around here saw one and it could not be mistaken for a bobcat. We've had numerous hunter friends who have seen them.

There was an attack on an Amish farmer down state from us, he shot the animal but did not kill it, his neighbors pursued but did not locate it. Game commission said it was a bobcat.

Then again, the game commission denied that Northern PA had coyote until very recently, when if fact they were shipping them in from other states to control deer.

They are out there, one must be careful when walking in their territory. Like Gail said it'd be a surprise if we didn't have them here and you didn't have them there.

November 7, 2010 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Crystal said...

We have gators. BIG BIG GATORS. They will eat small children and medium sized dogs. They are wicked fast on land and don't even think about the water. Plus they're green and blend into the surroundings. My Inlaws had two ten to twelve footers FIGHTING on their back lanai. Wicked Big Things. Yeah.

November 7, 2010 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

We recently moved up North in British Columbia to a very remote town at the end of a long road. Here there are Grizzlies and black bears, cougars, wolves, and coyotes. And moose, which are incredibly dangerous when they are in rut. Ack! So far I have only seen moose, but that hasn't stopped me from buying a big can of bear spray. We got chased by a bear when we lived in Kamloops and I want to be prepared this time, especially when we are so remote.

November 7, 2010 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Is the pic you posted from Greene County Indiana? It looks just like the one that's been plastered all over the newspapers here for several months now. There have been many sightings of mountain lions, but not confirmed til this pic was taken by a DNR camera. Look forward to reading what you've written everyday! Your blog gives me encouragement that we're not crazy for moving back to the sticks!
Amber

November 7, 2010 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

ugh.
I googled.
bleuurchhh.

I am grateful that the only big cat prowling round my flock is my puss Malory!

GTM x x

November 7, 2010 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Goodness. Be careful out there everyone.

November 7, 2010 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

We live in the Western United States where mountain lions are common. Yes, I’ve seen them on numerous occasions, and I couldn’t have made that statement even 15 years ago. They prefer to eat deer yet there’s an account in Northern California where a female jogger running along a river trail was attacked and killed by a lion. Of course there’s some speculation foul play was involved and her body was dumped in an area known to have a good population of lions.

Mountain lions do not want to try to attack people, especially if the people are bigger than they are. Case in point, my wife and I encountered a lion on our first property here one evening. And even though I told her NOT to run, she was already fleeing the area at a rate that she was not able to hear my words of advice. : ) the lion simply turned and left.

I regularly hike; bird watch and fish in areas I know there are lions and have never been fearful to be outside. In Alaska where bears are a reality, EVERYONE wears a 44 magnum pistol on their belt. The must be quite the fashion accessory. California’s Department of Fish and Game suggest if you see a lion to raise your arms over your head or swing your jacket over your head to make yourself look much bigger and to yell loudly. However, we have two dachshunds and they would be at the top of the mountain lion, eagle, hawk, great horned owl, fox, and bobcat table fare, so they do not go outside unsupervised.

I can understand the concern of those who raise livestock being in an area where big cats roam. Many ranchers out west have big dogs that live and sleep outside to keep critters of all sorts away and to sound the alarm. Dogs bark differently when they are saying, “hello,” opposed to the, “you don’t belong here,” bark. I’m not sure what the old timers used to do up there where the temps dip to Artic Circle like cold, but I bet the lions aren’t out on the prowl on those nights.

Try not to be fearful. And next time your garden and plants are ravished in a single night by a few deer, remember a good mountain lion should kill and eat a deer a week.

November 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I saw the Indiana Lion! This one is up here:
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2008/11/mountain-lion-photographed-in-new-york.html

November 7, 2010 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Get some free-range guineas. You won't have ticks for long... :D

November 7, 2010 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Chance said...

Be careful of those recluse spiders...I got a bite when we were building in Vermont (no known population of recluse spiders in VT) and all the tissue around the bite was turning black, into a swelling, hallucinatory horror. I kept saying "can't be a recluse bite, there are no recluse spiders in Vermont, they can't live through the winter". Hey, I'm a public health professional - I know (from books)!

If I had waited 12 more hours or so, I would have lost my leg. The old country doc that treated me said (imagine old school Vermont accent) "Welp, there aren't any manatees in New York State either, but the paper said there was one swimming up the Hudson just t'other day". And so there had been.

Recluse spiders come up to New England in imported southern wood (like in the load of 2X4s we were building with). There are about 30 bites a year in VT, and the bites often baffle the local docs. Always wear gloves, always use wood from local woodlots. But really, they can't live through the winter, so you probably don't have a breeding population to worry about. Nevah know though.

Guinea hens are annoying as all get out, but they will eat every tick on your property.

November 7, 2010 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

I hate ticks. Found a bunch on my goats recently. Ick.

I live in the Sierras in California and we definitely have mountain lions. The neighbor says he lost a bunch of goats before shooting it. Lots of sightings within a few miles of our house...my husband once heard one walking down the driveway (this was before we officially moved in and had dogs) I always assume one could be around.

We definitely have other small predators (coyotes, skunks, weasels), plus bears (a different neighbor had to shoot one that kept coming up to the house), black widow spiders, rattlesnakes (we run across several every year and usually kill at least one). If those don't get you, a falling tree limb might. Don't you know it's much more dangerous to live in the country? This is why people huddle in cities.

Anyhow, mountain lions are generally pretty timid. If they see you and can get away they will. Unless they are really hungry. Or crazy.

The albinos are up the road a piece, thank goodness.

November 7, 2010 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Amy McPherson Sirk said...

Ick, I hate ticks. That's a big part of why we let the chickens range. There are plenty of brown recluse spiders here, too. I would not be at all surprised if you had mountain lions there. I've lived several places where they were just outside of town. Mostly they keep to the back woods unless some environmental stress sends them out looking for food. Splinters can be hard to clean out so there's a chance you could get blood poisoning. I keep a jar of betadine mixed with peroxide and thoroughly scrub every wound. When you are working with animals you have to be extra careful any time your skin is broken.

November 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Chicky said...

+1 on the side arm to protect yourself. Out here in WY, we have lots of predators...including the big kind that will go after humans or pets. My hubby takes a pistol with him anytime he hunts - it's the best (& quickest) defense he has to a stalking mountain lion. I imagine you have a gun range in your area & someone that would be willing to give you lessons.

November 7, 2010 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Hayley said...

Well here in Alaska, we have no poisonous spider worries, no ticks, no fleas, no snakes, no poison ivy. That is a big change from where I come from in Alabama. But....you know we have bears. And wolves. And moose. And ice. And below freezing temps. It is a give and take kind of thing.

November 7, 2010 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

No big predators here in Oz, except for crocodiles, but further north from where I live...but plenty of dangerous little ones.....red back spiders, funnel webs, white tail, which sounds like your black recluse, tarantulas as big as a dinner plate, snakes that will eat chickens and small dogs, and snakes that are deadly poisonous.

And all our cute, cuddly animals?...a kangaroo can kill a person with a big kick with it's hind legs or disembowel you with it's front claws, this has happened to farm dogs, platypus have deadly spikes on their back legs, and koalas have flesh rippping claws too, and are pretty fierce. The good thing is they won't come after you for dinner thinking you'll make a good snack!

We have paralysis ticks here too, that can kill an animal pretty quickly and make people pretty sick.

November 7, 2010 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Interesting that you posted this now. Here in RI we just heard about another black bear sighting! If any of you have ever been to RI, you might find it hard to imagine. I hike, though, and there are lots of places bears could take up residence. Right now, the one that was seen, was raiding bird feeders.
I've seen quite a few coyotes in the last several years, and a fox in my own suburban backyard!
The only things I devote any concern too, though, are the ticks. I've had a run-in with Lyme. It's not fun.

November 7, 2010 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger littlegreengardengal said...

We have cougars (mountain lions) around here. I live on the edge of town, so haven't seen them right by my place. But they are having a population boom in Oregon right now and 6 of them have been killed by the state tracker within a couple miles of my house just this summer. They do come into towns too, and have been captured/killed inside the city limits of other surrounding towns lately. Even though I live in town, I do keep an eye out for them if I go out at night.
The big cats are beautiful, but not if you see one in person!

November 7, 2010 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger GirlSavorsLife said...

Just a couple months ago I was sitting on my front porch enjoying coffee when I spotted a brown shape sauntering down the hill across the nearby yard. I not-so-gently awoke my husband from his nap and made him come out and look at the brown shape. "Yup, that's a bear," he said casually, "a fairly good-sized one too."

A couple years ago my dog and I were out on a jog and saw a baby cat cub out in the field. I stopped to admire until it sunk in: where there's a baby wild cat, a mama is surely nearby watching. Needless to say we quickly moved on and finished our run.

We definitely share our mountain life with critters here longer than I have been!

November 7, 2010 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

I swore that I saw a mountain lion just the other day here in GA! I did not get a good look but it definitely wasn't a dog or coyote. It had a completely different movement to it. Phil thought I was crazy, I think. I wish I had gotten a better look but I was driving and it turned away and went into the trees. Anyway, I believe it can happen. It only makes sense to me that their ranges would expand again now that they aren't being shot on sight anymore.

November 7, 2010 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Helena said...

As Crystal said, we have lots of gators down here in FL. We also have spiders (black widows and brown recluses) and poisonous snakes (rattlers, cottonmouths, copperheads, and coral snakes), and if you were wandering about in the south central FL wilderness you might encounter panthers or bears, but they are sadly so few and far between now that the likelihood is very slim.

If you go in the Gulf or Atlantic, that's a whole different world--stingrays, occasional sharks, jellyfish, etc. :)

November 7, 2010 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger djp said...

Mountain lions have been sighted in the countryside outside of Montreal, so I would not be surprised if there are a few in Vermont and Upstate New York. However, there are few dangerous wildlife on the island of Montreal, unless one considers foxes, raccoons, porcupines and skunks as 'dangerous'. Unfortunately, increased urbanisation means that snakes, frogs and toads have not been sighted in many areas in the past several years.
I haven't heard any rumours of banjo-playing albinos, but I'll keep my eyes peeled...

November 7, 2010 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Corey and Kristin said...

There have been lots of pictures and eyewitness accounts of cougars in our neck of the woods (northern MN), too, but the DNR is having a hard time admitting they are in the state. Funny that the same thing is happening where you are. Maybe they don't want to cause panic? We have heard their screams at night - quite a sound - but they are very people shy. This is their natural habitat and although they are dangerous, it is also nice to see them moving back where they belong.

November 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Gail said...

Just a word about brown recluse spiders before everyone freaks out...they are reclusive, as their name says, and they will hide from human activities. Most "bites" come when people take their winter coats out of storage (especially from the cool damp basement) and put them on to see if they fit, without turning the sleeves out first. They can't actually bite you-they have to be smashed onto your skin to release the venom, which also kills the spider. So here's where awareness comes in. Be careful in situations where the spider might be happy and if you are used to smashing bugs when you feel them on you,STOP. Brush them off instead! There are all kinds of threats to humans out there, I have a couple of sons for whom a sting from a honey bee or a sweat bee could be fatal. Just be careful.

November 7, 2010 at 4:28 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Ugh, ticks are our biggest problem, both the deer ticks that carry Lyme and the dog ticks that carry Rocky Mt. spotted fever. My sister has suffered from Lyme for over 10 years.

We also have the brown recluse spider, as well as the Black Widow. I kill 'em when I see 'em, if I stick around long enough :-(

We have copperhead snakes, too. I've never seen one myself, but they are common here. We have seen foxes and there are probably bobcats, though I've never seen one.

On the other side of the state, in western MD, a lady saw what she thought was a mountain lion and was laughed at by the local DNR. Until she called them next time she saw it, and when they shot it with a tranquilizer dart, they discovered that it was indeed just what she said. It was also pregnant. Which of course means there was at least one more somewhere nearby.

Most of the smaller animals here would be dangerous for our pets or livestock, but not for people (unless they are carrying rabies, which is common here. We do have skunks, which may not be a danger, but when it's in your garage, it sure seems that way. Ask me how I know :-(

November 7, 2010 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger dogear6 said...

We had mountain lions in the outer edge of Omaha - not the rural area, the city. When the sightings first started, it was pretty elusive. The urban legend stopped after the DNR actually caught it near Dodge & 72nd (main thoroughfare).

A few weeks later the sightings started up all over again. There was a lot of smirking going on as in "one is unusual - two is no way". Until the second one got caught.

They were probably siblings driven out of the mother's territory as both were young. They are now at the Omaha Zoo.

November 7, 2010 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

DCNR says the same thing about PA. I don't believe them for a second (though the rumors about farmers finding cougars with University tags in their ears are hard to believe as well). Never seen one, but supposedly there was one running around a wildlife refuge in Maine I used to work at, was enough of a scare to keep me from going to that side of the refuge alone. Where I'm moving to in Oregon there isn't any question though, we have to keep our goats in a big wooden box at night to protect against the big kitties.

November 7, 2010 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

For the record, this house is packing heat. I own a loaded handgun and it is always within reach. My neighbor right across the road is is the Jackson Sheriff, too. And I bet he's heard reports of big cats.

November 7, 2010 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Moose Nugget said...

Well, darn near everything in Alaska can kill you.
My husband shot a 7'2" BLACK bear this spring. (made good hams and sausage too).
The grizzlies abound and can be found anywhere.
We have a LYNX that lives on our property. We see the tracks every day- they used to hover around the chicken coop.
Moose are a real threat- from hitting them with your vehicle (moose wins) to upsetting a momma and calf (moose wins).
Wolves. BIG BIG BIG wolves. My husband found tracks the size of his own head.

And if those things don't get ya, well... It was 60 below zero last winter. Snow, ice, avalanche, and sub freezing temps.
And a boat load of poisonous plants that sicken or kill many a forager who can't tell the differences in their handy little field guides.

As if that's not enough (ha!) the dept of fish and game
posted notices in our area that the brown recluse has made an arrival HERE!
I though I escaped those critters when I left the south.

Yeah... I think almost everything here can kill you.

November 7, 2010 at 7:32 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

We have cougars here too. A friend of mine once said to her husband, "Oh look, it's a kitty! Oh wait, it's a deer."

It was a cougar.

Black bears are also a part of life here. I got some great pictures of a pair of them fishing http://thatsthelife.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/bears/

One of those fellows was walking across our front porch every day this summer!

November 7, 2010 at 8:01 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

Miriam! You are three hours away from us! We're in Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island.

They use beagles here too, when the bears get desensitized to people.

November 7, 2010 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger lime said...

the pennsylvania game commission swears there are no mountain lions in our state but i have knowledgeable friends who say otherwise. we do have the nations largest black bears though and they've made appearances on our front porch and turned over the garbage shed more than once.

November 7, 2010 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Many animals need to migrate in order to survive as a species. As more and more of the wilderness is encroached upon and urbanized, these animals lose their habitats and migration routes. As a result they are being pushed toward areas that were not their territory in the past. This might explain why so many people are seeing Cougars/Mountain Lions in areas where once they did not exist.

November 7, 2010 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

I looked at a 70 acre hilltop property in central NH 6 or 7 years ago. We walked a logging road out to the back of the property and saw cat prints as big as my hand. My father was with me, he grew up hunting for his dinner in California, he said "BIG cat, mountain lion". NOT a bobcat. They're out there. The state doesn't want the public to know so that people don't go crazy about it.

I am in central MA now, lots of bear and coyote. My Pomeranians do not go out at night without me, and are fenced in. Their daytime kennel has a wire roof too. My friend in southeast MA lost a 16+ hand horse in the prime of her life to a pack of coyotes just last weekend. They're not supposed to be able to do that, but apparently nobody informed the coyotes of that!

November 7, 2010 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Packin heat huh? I'm impressed so I'll say you go girl.
Don't forget, the Eastern Coyote is about 50%, depending on the individual, Eastern Timberwolf. Our coyotes are larger and heavier than Western. I've seen some around here that stand as tall as my German Shepherds but are of lighter bone. They will prey on domestic animals. There is one in the neighborhood now who has tried unsucessfully to take two different chickens.

November 7, 2010 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Tobi said...

We live in northwestern Connecticut and in our woods, we've seen black bears, fox, turkey, fisher cats, deer and coyote. My neighbor has photos of the bobcat laying in wait under the bird feeder. And another neighbor has a photo of a mountain lion on her back patio.

November 8, 2010 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Rachael said...

YES! I've seen one just above the Kinzua Dam in NW PA! It ran right across the road in front of me. Took a second for me to register what it was as that was the last thing I expected to see run in front of my car, but I'm sure of it. There's no other cat around that could be that BIG. Of course, the rangers would say we don't have them here, but lots of local folks will argue that we do. Me being one of them!

November 8, 2010 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger *jean* said...

it would not surprise me, we have had several sightings here in northern MN and WI...could be the same cat though, their range is huge

November 8, 2010 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Leiflet said...

My older brother was bitten by a brown recluse. He described it this way: "There is now a chunk missing from my arm."

Ditto on the cats. We had them in Tuolumne, CA. We saw them all the time. I see deer in urban neighborhoods here in Cincy. It's weird-- i think animals have a way of sneaking back into human habitats. I like to imagine that they're trying to reclaim them.

November 8, 2010 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I'm in western PA. A few months ago I was driving home after visiting relatives in NY (on Lake Erie). There on the side of the road was a dead mountain lion and a little further down the road were her two dead kittens. I was saddened by this. I have never seen a mountain lion before and had no idea there were any so close to home. They are dangerous but beautiful creatures and I hope people don't immediately freak out and kill them whenever they're spotted.

November 8, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Yep Mountain Lions are making a comeback all over the US. The photo you posted of the Green County lion was taken a few miles, and one county, over from me. Lawrence County, my county, has also had confirmed sightings.

Using common sense and being aware of your surroundings is your best defense. That goes for all critters including wicked spiders and equally wicked ticks!

November 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Lorri said...

You know, one of the names I remember for mountain lions I never see anymore. I once read a book (kid's fiction, years ago) and the main character hunted in the Bitterroots in the Rockies. He called them Ghosts - said it was because you might find tracks, less likely scat, and almost never saw them. I remember that, and it never surprises me that there are more than the authorities want to admit. Easy enough to play down what they hear and deny things, with cat that's earned the nickname Ghost.

November 8, 2010 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

15 years ago, My grandmother was sitting out on her front porch, sipping her tea, and watched one stroll up the road. And I quote, "That was NOT a Barn Cat."
The wildlife officials will say to the contrary, but we've always believed one has called our property part of it's territory.

November 8, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger spike said...

After reading this, I found myself searching for items to beef up the First Aid Kit.

November 8, 2010 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Woodsy Woman said...

Where I live in northern Alberta we have lots of predators. Cougars, lynx, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, wolverines, etc. Having lived here my whole life I'm pretty used to most of it, but cougars still scare me. My neighbors daughter saw one in their yard last year and there were a few other sightings as well. Those big cats are just so cunning, they freak me out. If I'm out walking in the bush i usually have a gun on me just in case. But I have to say, I would take the big predators we have over poisonous spiders, snakes and bugs any day!

November 8, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger DebH said...

Rattlesnakes in the summer and Coyotes in Packs in the winter. Rattlesnake will give you warning. Coyotes when in packs are out at night and can do alot of damage. Just why I have aquired my 2nd LGD Great Pyrenees. Just last evening around midnight, I heard my older LGD who was about to tangle with something...she meant business in that bark. I got the floodlight out to find 3 very unflinching coyotes sitting on my ridge not 300 yards...just waiting....for my girl to let her guard down. Well, I made a racket and slammed lids on BBQ and put on yard lights. They took off...but sadly..they'll also be back. I am seriously thinking about using the gun next time!

November 8, 2010 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date, speaking of stuff you have to watch out for on a farm.

November 8, 2010 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

We've been finding large cat tracks in south Wisconsin for years. We've got pictures but the DNR still says, not here. Then one showed up in Chicago.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,351337,00.html

These are not pets. The males move out to claim new areas at a certain age. They are making a come back in the midwest and I fail to see why in would be different in other rural areas. There isn't a natural enemy for them. Keep your gun close.

November 8, 2010 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Rabbit said...

yes the cats do live amongst us

take a look at the blogger below

http://romp-roll-rockies.blogspot.com/

November 8, 2010 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Mud Mama said...

I'm in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. we have a ton of coyotes, some blck bears, and a few cougars on the north mountain.

I caught the tail end of a radio show that was apparently talking about indigenous species slowly retaking the land they lost to human encroachment and the return of the cougars being part of that.

November 8, 2010 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Girlfriend, you grew up in Pennsylvania, right? what do you think the Nittany Lion is? They are around. Just make sure your livestock is locked away at night and you're armed to the teeth (which I know you are) and all will be fine. People moved into 'their' neighborhood, not the otherway around.

November 9, 2010 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

lions, tigers, and bears oh my!

between my dogs and myself i'm most concerned about lyme disease which is quite prevalent in VA. a large portion of my friends/family/pets have suffered and continue to suffer from complications due to lymes.

i also am very paranoid about tetanus and make sure to stay UTD on shots.

stay alert stay alive.

November 9, 2010 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger CK said...

Check out this related story I just read on the BBC...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11747293

November 12, 2010 at 3:44 PM  

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