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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of four. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fred trees mountain lion

Fred trees a mountain lion from Chris Wemmer on Vimeo.

"Fred's barking at something" came the voice from the bedroom.

"Yeah, he's barking at a squirrel -- it's his morning routine", replied the voice in the office.

(5 minutes later)

"Fred's still barking, and it sounds like he's getting farther away."

"Okay, okay, I'll check."

From the kitchen window I saw Fred "arfing" gamely up into a live oak about 60 feet from the house.

And dang me if there wasn't a tawny cat up that tree.

I rushed to the bedroom announcing "Fred's treed a mountain lion", punched my feet into my jeans (somewhat like Charleton Heston in "The Big Country"), grabbed my camera, and headed out the back door.

The svelte cat was eyeing Fred from a safe height of 35 feet, and as I snapped a few pictures it turned its humiliated gaze on me.

Better shoot some video, I thought.

My soothing "Niiiice kitty" failed to improve the cat's disposition, but energized the dog even more.

Then Kitty moved to a new position and plotted her escape down some low-hanging limbs.

I shuffled down slope, grabbed Fred's collar, and filmed with my right hand as she crept out on the bendy limb.

In spirit and style, Kitty's getaway could only be that of Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, and in a few moments her getaway was complete, as you saw in the video.

How did this come about?

Well, you might have heard my wife's voice in the video.

She was on the phone with my thoroughly jazzed neighbor "Iron Man", who called as soon as he heard the commotion.

His German Shepherd had also barked at something down in the brush, but wisely didn't give chase.

Then Iron Man saw something big moving down there, and heard Fred's full-throated bark shortly after.

Kitty was probably slinking away on our property when Fred surprised her, and vice versa. 

In retrospect, maybe the hazing taught this cat to stay away from human habitation. 

As for what was going on in Fred's skull, I'm not sure.

He may think the cat was a large variety of squirrel. (Okay, probably not.)

But I do know this wouldn't have happened without him. 


(Thanks for the photoshopping, Carl)


Anonymous said...

Super cool video and photos...Fred's barking got Petey going big time...

Woody Meristem said...

Great post and great experience. Perhaps you should call him Fearless Fred from now on.

randomtruth said...

Fun morning and great vid, Chris. Kitty definitely landed on her feet!

Cindy said...

Listen to the dog. I can't believe your hand was so steady for the video. Interesting to see the puma position itself in the tree.

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

Amazing video! Fred proves his worth as a zoologist's best friend.

Best, jim

Anonymous said...

Wow! Fantastic photos and an exciting video. What a stroke of good luck for a prepared guy! Freddie deserves an extra bone for his part in the show.

Janet Pesaturo said...

Very cool - thanks!

christian said...

tip of the hat to Fred!

Bonnie K said...

Great photos. You are lucky. Around here the lions eat dogs for a morning snack.

John W. Wall said...

Great story and beautiful cat!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Chris! Congratulations to you and Fred for this. How great to have a mountain lion up a tree in your front yard. I worry that some of your neighbors might not like mountain lions as much as you and Fred do..


Anonymous said...

Loved the Puma in the garden. Fred seemed well under control. You would not want him to corner that critter. I've never seen a Puma in nature, but Grandma Rentz saw one cross the road down near San Rafael.


JK said...

Good Boy Fred!

Unknown said...

Wow, I really liked the beautiful pictures you took! And the video absolutely amazing!!!

Owlman said...

Awesome Codger you and Fred know how to have fun and that looked like great fun!