A panther in the copse

DSC06540If you don’t know what I mean about the hairs on your neck standing up, think about a cougar, a puma, a panther in a tree right behind you. It could be there. There are scratch marks on a live oak. There is scat along the dry creek bed and footprints in the mud at this horse farm southwest of Fort Worth. Claudia said it has been seen, lounged in a tree just like the one Larry Gilbert talks about from Brackenridge Field Laboratory where I did my Ph.D. field research.

Photo by benjamint444, CC 3.0

Photo by benjamint444, CC 3.0

I wonder what the landscape looks like to one of our rare big cats. Is it a series of safe corridors along the dry streams, too rocky to plow? Is it a few thickets for repose where the delicious deer also hide? Do cougars like the view? Do they consider the horses or the dogs? If there is a cougar, does that mean we humans have not spoiled everything?

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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