Yes, I know I live in the country, so I should expect things like this on occasion, but when they actually happen... It's a bit of a shock! We have a mountain lion. Right here, in our yard.
I have always had a big family of pets. Growing up I had cats, dogs, chickens, guinea pigs, and fish. Now, I have just cats, but a good number of them. Since I live in the country, and we have a pretty big yard, the cats get to go outside during the day. I try to bring them all in at night, since we've heard rumor of mountain lions, and I've seen bobcats, foxes, raccoons, skunks, possum and a slew of smaller critters. A couple of our cats are explorers though, and don't like to come in. They have radio trackers on them so that I can find them easier and bring them in at night. They're not very old, so aren't very "Street smart".
Last night, I went out to find Larry, our beautiful tuxedo Maine Coon. He knows the sound of the radio beeper, so came running from the next hill over, Observatory Hill. I stood on the deck, waiting and watching him running towards me. He got into the gate and stopped cold, looking to the left and then up at me, back to the left, back up at me. He's played this game with me before, where I have to come down and the Chase Is On!! before he'll finally be "caught" and brought in. So I started heading down to get him. It was dusk and he needed to come inside.
As I rounded the big pine tree, I saw what he was looking at. About 20 feet away, a large deer had been killed, partially ripped apart and was laying there. YUCK!!! Larry ran and I had to chase him, but was completely freaked out by what I'd seen, and of course, hearing every twig and leaf crackle as some huge beast right next to me. I caught him and brought him in and BJ and I went out to investigate the deer. Read BJs account here: http://blog.imperialearth.com/
There were large signs of strangulation and it was eviscerated with very large claw marks in it's rump. That was it. I was freaked! I went back in and had a very vegetarian dinner and even locked the doors! Like that would make any difference at all...
Later, as it was dark, I did NOT go outside, but shined a big flashlight down to see if I could see anything. Two enormous glowing eyes shined back at me! YIKES!!!! WHAT THE HECK IS THAT????? It was mostly behind the pine tree, so could only see the eyes. We got the binoculars and watched for a bit. I guess it relaxed that we weren't any kind of threat, so it moved out to where we could see it better, sat down for a while just staring up at us. I was freaked out, but oh my gosh, it was beautiful. It was a huge mountain lion. The tail was a good 3-4 feet long, with a big black tuft on the end. The eyes were about 6 or so inches apart. He was about 20 yards away.
As he sat, he was about 3 1/2 feet tall. After a bit, he turned around, stretched out and laid down. WOW. What a sight!!! Even rolled over on his side, showing off his big tummy! Just Beautiful!!! Tried to take pictures, but it was just too dark. The flashlight wasn't enough for the camera, and neither of us was going to go out for a closer look!!!
All I could do was keep saying "WOW!!" I'd seen them in zoos before, but never one just out in the yard.
After a bit, the wind and rain picked up. I looked again for him, but he'd gone to seek shelter. Somewhere... Then I was freaked out again.
I went down past the tree today, and the deer is still there, moved into the rocks surround now, and more of it eaten. I'm figuring that the lion is still hanging around though.... close to his meal. I started hearing twigs and leaves crackle again, so high-tailed it back into the house. None of the cats have been let out today, cause they'd just be a lion mcnugget in a flash. I'll be watching for him tonight. I sure bet he'll be back.