Then a mountain lion crosses your path…

8 Nov

It’s easy to forget that nature isn’t tamed–we carve out human spaces, trim nature to fit in parks, and think that we’ve conquered it. However, once in a while, nature reminds you that it’s all a façade.

As you can see from the picture about, that is not a mountain lion – that’s a civet cat – but it performs the same duties as the mountain lion and is just as nasty. When my wife and I were working in India, we were up in the first range of the Himalayas at an international residential boarding school called Woodstock. We lived in the middle of a national forest. The forest wasn’t native, they planted it after independence, so although it stopped bad landslides, now we had forest fires.

The point is that to get anywhere on campus, you either had to go up the mountain or down the mountain through the “jungle.” There was a lot of trails that ran through there and you climbed up muddy, rocky paths to get to your destination. That’s when I saw the civet cat.

I stopped–my wife bumped into me from behind–but I wanted to give the pair of civet cats plenty of room. They are predators, and apart from my walking stick, I didn’t have any way to defend myself. For the most part, animals will tend to leave you alone. Besides, we weren’t its prey.

We had a lot of feral dogs running on the hillside. They were a little more solicitous–just like the monkeys–but throwing rocks to keep them away seemed to work. That night, we woke up after midnight to the most horrific screaming we’d ever heard. It wasn’t a human scream, it was a dog. The civet cats had struck the pack of feral dogs and eaten one. We found the blood stains outside our house the next morning, but no corpse. The cats were methodical and dragged the body into the jungle. But the dogs were much more skittish for the next month.

Living in Arizona, we have coyotes, who are far sneakier than any civet cat… but then again, they’ve lived with humans for a lot longer. It’s not uncommon for them to walk off the mountain or the rez, follow the canals, and jump over someone’s fence to eat their pet chihuahua. However, there’s something more impressive to see a beast in their domain and realize the true power of nature.

Have you had an experience like that? Let me know in the comments below!

2 Responses to “Then a mountain lion crosses your path…”

  1. lightslatitudes November 8, 2020 at 9:11 am #

    I find natural disasters just as eye opening –Mother Earth will always remind us how powerful she is through things like hurricanes, blizzards and earth quakes.

  2. katelon November 9, 2020 at 6:07 am #

    While staying in a neighborhood in San Diego we woke up to blood stains on the sidewalk. Several of us were tracking it to attempt to find out what happened. Conversations led to finding our it had been a fight between two raccoons. We had thought it was a coyote who lived in the local park but it was only the racoons.

    Thanks for following my blog, I really appreciate it!

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