A group of hikers recently shared a walking trail with a mountain lion at Big Bend National Park, Texas video shows, and the big cat was on the hunt.
Known to be “reclusive and secretive,” it’s a rare thing just to see a cougar in its habitat, rarer still to witness the predator doing what it does best.
The hikers don’t see the prey, but the mountain lion appears to be zeroed in on something as it emerges from the dry brush and onto the trail, video shared to YouTube shows.
The lion moves low and slow, its gaze fixed on the woods next to the trail. If it’s at all interested in the hikers, it doesn’t show it.
“I’m not taking my eyes off this guy,” the voice behind the camera says. “He wants nothing to do with us.”
Having stalked for long enough, the mountain lion lines itself up, coils like a muscular spring and launches into the thicket, vanishing from the camera’s view. A creature cries out somewhere in the trees.
A separate group of hikers saw the second half of the encounter, capturing the moment the lion leapt onto its prey, video shows.
Watch from the 15:57 mark to 16:24 to see the struggle between lion and prey — most likely a deer — taking place just yards from the trail.
Experts don’t know how many mountain lions live in Texas, but sightings are few and far between, McClatchy News reported. Most reports center around the Trans-Pecos region, which encompasses Big Bend.
“Far West Texas is known for vast, open spaces and sparse human populations. So, it is possible that there are more mountain lions out here than in other parts of the state,” Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist Rachael Connally told McClatchy. “Because mountain lions maintain large home ranges, some cats may move freely across the Texas-Mexico border frequently.”