Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Puma Scrapes

Puma delicately poses on huge paws at the Dipper Ranch night of October 4, 2015.   
When I lived in Florida, we called them panthers. I never saw a Florida panther, but in the 1980's, there were only about 30 Florida panthers left and I didn't know much about Puma concolor then. Officially, they are called mountain lions in California, and cougars seems to be the most popular name in other western states. These days, I like to use the word puma because it's short.

Max Allen, a researcher with Santa Cruz Pumas Project at the University of California Santa Cruz, posted an interesting piece called How Pumas Communicate Through Scent Marking on the National Geographic Wild Cats blog. In the 15+ years I've worked outdoors in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I've seen four pumas.  But I've seen lots of puma sign now that I know what to look for: scat, tracks, scrapes, kills and scratching logs.