Last night Mom had to walk the dog so Sara stayed on the deck to keep watch. For two reasons. - 1) because we heard coyotes in our woods the night before and saw their tracks the next morning and 2) because there have been signs of a cougar in the neighborhood. After a couple of minutes, Mom noticed that Crockett was pointed at one spot in the woods: The pit where we dump our left-overs. It was snowing and too dark to see all the way to the edge of the woods but she knew he saw/heard something. Then a strange sound came from the pit - a deep grumbling growl mixed with a steady purr. Here is a recording that sounds exactly like what we heard . . . http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/soundfx/animals/animals_sounds/BigCats_sounds/lion_cougar7_wav.shtml
The rest of us were inside and heard Mom shout, "Sara! Get in the house now!" They ran in and Sara looked as if she were going to cry. "There's a cougar out there!" Mom was laughing nervously and said yes, there was a cougar out there. After a couple of minutes, Mom took me out to stay on the deck and listen. Unfortunately the children had been playing around with the camera and the memory card was full so I couldn't record the sound. While I was fighting with that, I heard it. And I am telling you it was the scariest sound I had ever heard! It was right over by the pit, but no matter how hard I strained I couldn't see a thing. That is the worst situation to be in - to hear a cougar but not see it. The growling purr lasted for around 3o seconds, long enough for us to realize that it sounded as if the cougar was walking as it growled, puffing in the cold night air.
We came back in the house to call Grandpa who lives right up the road from us. While Mom called, I changed the batteries in our big flashlight. When she was finished on the phone I begged some more and we went out again. That's when we saw them; huge prints in the pit in the edge of the woods. A couple of nights ago Mom was walking the dog and heard some sort of scream. She described it as . . . An owl screeching? A human screaming for help? No. It was a cougar, it sounded like this - http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/soundfx/animals/animals_sounds/BigCats_sounds/lion_cougar6_wav.shtml
There have been a few clues pointing to cougar(s) in the area - Perseus and Crockett do not bark at the neighbors' dogs, or even at the coyotes that yip in the woods every night. But on several occasions recently they have barked and growled at something. Something us humans haven't seen or heard. What else makes a dog run back to the house, tucking it's tail in fright?