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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beware of the Mountain Lions

We have had two different Mt. Lion warnings on the UCSC campus in the last couple of weeks.  When I got the text message for the second warning last week I decided to walk out to the area of the sighting and see if I could see myself a cat.  Alas, I was not attacked nor did I see a Mt. Lion. For that matter I could not even find any sign of Mt. Lions. No footprints, no scat.  I did not really expect to find much, but was still a bit disappointed. I have been busy finishing the last few experiments and getting figures and a manuscript ready for publication so I have not gotten outside much at all in January.  Hopefully February will be better and you will be seeing more frequent posts on CTC again.

I will have to just leave you with a couple of Mt. Lion footprints from 2011.

The first I found in the Yuba Gap placing cams ahead of the Codger's workshop.


The second was found a few days later at the Chimineas Ranch while exploring a canyon with Randomtruth.


Lastly an out of focus image of Mt. Lion scat. I can now proudly make bets in a bar that I could distinguish Mt. Lion poop from the other large American carnivores with my eyes closed and my nosed turned up. Just leave out the Southern 40 Miles of Arizona and New Mexico, Jaguars, Ocelots and Jaguarundis; my scent palate is not that refined yet.


On another note, what is the currently excepted binomial nomenclature for the mountain lion?  I see it as both Panthera concolor and Puma concolor in fairly recent guides and sources.


  1. I've been taught within the past 2 years Puma concolor by professors at my college. Not sure if you've seen him around blogspot, but John Van Niel at con102.blogspot.com is our local Mt. Lion expert and enthusiast :) I'm sure he'd have something to say!

    1. Yes I am aware of John. I was just drooling over his wolf photos earlier this week. I may just have to track down the history of name changes to our beloved Mt. Lion. I know it started as Felis (or at least was Felis 90 years or so ago). Sounds like a good procrastination project.