By Melissa Wynn
[media-credit name=”bigstockphoto.com” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Wildlife abounds in the Sierra Nevada and the babies of Spring attract visitors to our neck of the woods from around the world. Who could resist catching a glimpse of some of our most famous furry forest friends? Spring is the time of year when the baby black bears come out of hiding and begin to explore. Our local bears are born at just a tiny seven ounces, during the winter while mother is sound asleep. By late March or April they weigh near ten pounds and are ready to cause a ruckus in the woods. Rough and tumble, sniff and learn.
[media-credit name=”bigstockphoto.com” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Late April and early May bring coyote pups out of their dens ready to meet the pack. Coyote litters can be as small as a single pup or as large as nineteen pups in years when food is abundant. Six cute, blind, floppy eared coyotes is an average litter. These cunning canines are ready to be on their own at around nine months. The parents will stay together for many years and raise several litters together.The males will run off to seek their own territory but the females will stick around and join their mother’s pack. Keep your eyes peeled and you may see a coyote family along the way.
[media-credit name=”bigstockphoto.com” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]The predatory puma, or mountain lion, also frequently introduce their kittens to the world in late Spring, although these ferocious felines can breed year round. Contrary to popular belief mountain lions do not always den in caves to have their young. In fact, they don’t construct an elaborate den of any kind. As long as the spot provides a refuge from predators (coyotes, golden eagles, other cougars) and shields the litter from heavy rain and hot sun a mother lion will call it home. Stop, look and listen when exploring in puma territory. Her kittens stay close to her until they are well over a year old although she will leave them for days at a time to hunt as they get older. Dad was long gone before the kittens were born. Whether you refer to them as a cougar, puma or mountain lion, show respect and keep your distance. Cougar kittens usually mean that mother is nearby!
Come visit us this Spring in Mountain Valley territory and see our adorable sierra babies of Spring!
Facts courtesy of nhptv.org