A camera on a Colorado hiking trail captured an unusual but charming sight earlier this week: a mountain lion taking a break in its nocturnal hunting to spend a moment playing with a swing.
In a video shared by ABC News (opens in new tab), which you can watch below, the mountain lion alternates between standing and lying on its back, batting the swing back and forth like a domestic cat.
Mountain lions, which are also known as cougars, pumas, panthers, or catamounts, are quiet and elusive, and usually only seen around dawn or dusk when they leave their dens to hunt for deer and small mammals. They are solitary by nature, and usually travel alone outside of mating season.
MESMERIZED MOUNTAIN LION: Trail cam footage captures a big cat being entertained by a swaying swing—just like any other kitty. https://t.co/HJfsgLsqmF pic.twitter.com/DIQrOchi5eOctober 3, 2022
As the National Park Service (opens in new tab) explains, encounters with mountain lions are rare, but it's a good idea to avoid hiking or running alone in areas where they are active, and always make sure that children are supervised. If hiking with kids, keep them close and don't let them run ahead.
Mountain lions naturally prey on smaller creatures, so if you do encounter one, don't approach it and avoid crouching down. Instead, do everything you can to make yourself look larger, such as raising your arms and holding your backpack over your head. As with most wild animal encounters, don't give in to the temptation to run, as this can trigger the mountain lion's instinct to chase.
If you are attacked, fight back with sticks, rocks, and anything else you can lay your hands on. For more advice, see our guide what to do if you meet a mountain lion on the trail.
- Best binoculars and monoculars: for enjoying wildlife from a safe distance
Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).
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