Central Oregon’s beauty inspires in us a sense of belonging, of being a part of something larger than ourselves. Our neighbors are as diverse as the habitats they call home, and can teach us a great deal about co-existing. Here’s your neighbor of the month!
Cougars are rarely seen since they are quite stealthy, but when they are spotted it can be quite an experience! Usually hiding in the background, they are very patient, waiting for the perfect time to take action. This makes them excellent stalk and ambush hunters. Helping them in this task are the specialized tools for their profession that they possess. The front paws are larger than the rear ones, and they have very sharp, retractable claws. This equipment enables them to snare and hold onto prey. Although they specialize in hunting ungulates such as deer and elk in our area, they are also capable of being generalists. This is very important, because If the food supply is low they are able to adapt to the tougher conditions and pursue animals as small as rodents. In fact, they have been observed eating insects when they present in large enough numbers!
Some of the largest cougars actually approach the jaguar in length and height, though they possess a more slender build. However, the largest recorded cougar weighed close to 300 pounds! The fourth largest amongst all the members of the cat family the cougar has proportionally the largest hind legs of all. This springy physique empowers it for tremendous leaping ability. The cougar is able to leap as high as 18 ft in one bound, and as far as 40 to 45 feet horizontally! This build also equips it with great speed during short sprints, with a top speed for brief bursts of anywhere from 40-50 mph.
Although known for being highly secretive and solitary, they do pair off during the breeding season, when for about two weeks the male and female sleep and hunt together. The kittens stay with their mother for a period of nurturing and training—in some cases as long as 23 months.
In addition to the mating season, however, there is also a little-known part of cougar social life. It is rarely witnessed, but occasionally two juvenile males may travel briefly together immediately after having left their mother. For a short while these brothers are able to cooperate and look out for each other as they further hone their hunting skills and seek out respective territories. Leading a transient life is not easy, but those who have a brother companion have it a bit easier and have a higher chance of survival.
Likewise, with entrepreneurs in Central Oregon, at times someone comes along who creates a synergy via their skills, experience, and personality. And then, like the two juvenile cougars, the challenging journey towards greater resources and prosperity is made easier.
Cougars are fascinating teachers capable of instructing us a great deal about patience, perfect timing, having sharp tools, resourcefulness, and even cooperation! Seeing them as fellow inhabitants of this special Central Oregon space that we call home provides us with even more incentive to take great care of the natural environment that we all share! When looking to take up residence in the area, call us to help meet your real estate needs in Bend, OR.