Close Encounter

The Wild is Not So Far From All of Us

Close Encounter - oil on panel, 36 x 24"

I've never been face-to-face with a mountain lion in the wild, but from the images I have seen of them, I am pretty sure I would not want to. This animal is beautiful in its gracefulness but terrifying in its potential as a hunter. 

The mountain lion is the largest feline carnivore in North America. On average, males may reach up to 8 feet in length and weigh between 130 and 150 lbs.  The largest recorded mountain lion weighed in at 276 lbs.

Where there are deer, a mountain lion is likely not far away. But in more urban areas, Cougars will feed on easy prey like domestic house cats and dogs, especially at night. They will be drawn to your pet's food but may choose to attack your dog if it is chained outside.

I chose to paint this image as I would imagine a chance encounter along a wooded mountain trail. Spots like this are very common in the mountains of North Carolina and cougars once roamed freely but it has been many years since one has been seen around here.  Sadly, the variety I might encounter in my part of the country, the Eastern Cougar, has been marked as extinct.