A mountain lion hunted and killed a whitetail deer in a Washington state neighborhood recently to the awe of local residents. Brock Rosen of Newport, Washington, posted the amazing footage, which he captured via a doorbell camera, to YouTube.
The video begins with a bang — blink and you’ll miss it. Two wild deer sprint down a snow-covered road in the glow of eve lights from nearby homes. A third whitetail instantly appears in the upper-right corner of the frame, as well, when the mountain lion darts into the shot fast as lightning. The big cat effortlessly runs down the deer and pounces as it tries to turn the corner, bringing its kill to the ground in a flash. The mountain lion then holds the whitetail on its back on top of what appears to be a cement neighborhood sidewalk.
What comes next is simply a terrifying waiting game in the circle of life. The lion lays calmly, gripping the deer’s neck between its jaws as the prey flails its legs and wags its tail for several minutes. No mauling or shredding; just a gentle, yet deadly embrace by the mountain lion as the life slowly drains from the helpless deer.
“[The mountain lion] holds on until all life is gone,” writes Rosen in the video description, as reported by Field anad Stream. “Only nature could be so awesome and yet, so dreadful.”
Mountain lions do not hunt in civilian neighborhoods often
While neighborhood sightings do not happen often, the state of Washington boasts plenty of apex wildlife. An estimated 3,500 to 4,000 mountain lions hunt the state’s 110,000 whitetails daily; and no other cat in the vicinity grows as large as the mountain lion. Also known as cougars or pumas, the mountain lion routinely reaches an average weight of 140 pounds. Some especially large cats can reach 180 pounds and measure 7 to 8 feet from nose to tail.
Mountain lions typically hunt exactly how the animal did in the video: with short-range ambush tactics. According to the National Wildlife Federation, they can also give chase, however, if needed. The Federation says mountain lions can reach top speeds of 50 miles per hour and broad jump nearly 40 feet in distance. The USDA estimates that lions hunt and kill big prey like whitetail deer once every week or two.
“A lion kill will often have puncture wounds on the back of the neck or head, where the lion frequently
bites the animal. There may also be other puncture injuries to the neck and jugular areas,” the USDA explains in a mountain lion pamphlet. “Lions do not chew ears off a carcass and will begin eating in the
stomach area directly behind the ribs. Lions will try to pluck or trim the hair from around the area where they first start to feed.”