COUGAR puma concolor, ADULT CROSSING RIVER, MONTANA

File Photo. Photo Credit: slowmotiongli (iStock).

A rare sighting of a mountain lion crossing water was recently caught on camera in southwest Colorado.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) shared a video on social media taken by Tommy Branson of Durango showing a mountain lion swimming across McPhee Reservoir last weekend. 

“What a rare sight to see,” CPW captioned the video. “The mountain lion safely made it to shore and continued on his way. Who said cats don’t like water?”

Mountain lions are generally are not fans of water and avoid swimming.

"We were certainly surprised, but who knows what goes through the mind of a wild critter," CPW Wildlife Manager Matt Thorpee told the Durango Herald in a recent interview.

Colorado's mountain lion population size is estimated to range from 3,000 to 7,000. Attacks on humans are rare as these big cats are primarily nocturnal, feeding on deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn.

McPhee Reservoir is one of the largest reservoirs in Colorado. The 4,470-acre reservoir is located in Montezuma County, just a few miles northwest of Dolores and 10 miles north of Cortez. Fish species commonly caught at the reservoir include Rainbow Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Black Crappie, Yellow Perch, Largemouth Bass, and Walleye.

Editor's Note: If you encounter a mountain lion on the trail, it's important to know what to do. First, stay calm. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Never crouch down or turn your back towards it. Make yourself look large by raising your arms or holding a jacket or backpack high above your head. If attacked, always fight back.

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.

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(2) comments

motoman

He was going fishing what's a cat to do for fish

smokeygrits50

too cool, sorry I missed it.

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