NOTICE: Exotic cats are as far removed from domestic housecats as a teacup poodle is from a pack of wolves. Please do not obtain them without first doing extensive research and preparation. Even the most imprinted and tame individual of a species will still defend itself with superhuman speed (and disasterous results) if you move too quickly, if it feels threatened by some inadvertant action on your part, or maybe just because it plays alot rougher than we fragile humans are up to. So PLEASE, don't try this at home! <grin>

Cougars are born with blue eyes and spots. At about 6 months of age, they begin losing the spots that help conceal them from other predators. Their eye color begins to turn to a golden-brown, and they start hunting in earnest. SoWePa has grown at a surprising rate since this happened, and would already be quite a lot to try to argue with, were he not carefully raised against aggressive behaviors. His diet consists of chicken and other raw meats, and I make a point of keeping him well-fed. :)

Above is SoWePa about 4 months ago, and below, how he'll look fully grown.

Whether called Cougar, Puma, or Mountain Lion, these large felines can be found throughout the Americas. The Western Mountain Lion is the largest of them, males weighing in at between 125 and nearly 200 pounds! Massive feet accented by retractable, sickle-shaped claws couple with powerful jaws and flesh-tearing fangs to make them fearsome predators. It is believed that the lateral strike of a cougar snaps the neck of the deer it sometimes preys upon, killing it instantly. Like most all of the large cats, Cougars are solitary, only coming together to breed. This contributes to their reputation for being elusive. If you have the rare circumstance of contronting one of these cats in the wild, your best course of action is to raise your arms above your head, waving them about and yell loudly. Bang things, make alot of noise, so that you appear more fearsome than they are. Above all else, do not run from them, for this will certainly trigger their hunting instincts, something which is obviously to be avoided.

This is Bobbi, a bobcat who shares my home with me. Her latin name is Lynx Rufus, demonstrating her close relation to the lynx population throughout the world. Bobbi came to me via my local game warden, having been confiscated. People took her from the wild at just a couple weeks old, and did a partial declawing of her, rendering her unreleaseable.

Although she lives with me as a "housecat," Bobbi stoutly refuses to have anything to do with cat, dog or people foods. She eats chicken, quail and occassional beef or horse meat, all raw.

For her relative size, Bobbi can be quite a handful when she doesn't like something, and although I enjoy her company, I do not recommend Bobcats as pets.


NOTICE: All birds of prey are protected by State, Federal & International laws. Posession of them without permit can result in fines and jail sentences. If you cannot take the time and energy to acquire the knowledge and falconry license, please leave the birds in the wild. If you find one orphaned or injured, contact the local police department, who will refer to the appropriate individuals.

To either side of this text are falcons. The one on the left is an Anatum Peregrine, the one on the right a Prairie. Falcons are the Top-Guns of the sky, taking pitches several hundred to as much as 3 thousand feet or more, then dropping their heads and falling from the sky after their prey. The stoop, as this controlled fall is called, is a tremendous thing to watch. The falcons have been clocked at well over 160 miles per hour! Although each type of falcon (and each individual) has its own hunting style, peregrines have been filmed simply flying into the game and colliding with it at their breastbone. That the peregrine is not injured is a wonder, and leaves scientists astounded.

The birds on either side of this text are hawks. To the left is a Ferruginous Hawk , which is a member of the broad-winged family, as are Red-tailed Hawks, properly called Buteos. They eat anything from field mice to rabbits, and occasionally kill gamebirds as well

To the right is a European Goshawk, a member of the short-winged family more properly known as Accipiters. These lightning-quick and agile hunters usually lurk in forested areas, eating a variety of birds.

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