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The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the American continents after the jaguar. Although large, the cougar is most closely related to smaller felines.

A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources include ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle, horses and sheep, particularly in the northern part of its range. It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and persists at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. While it is a large predator, it is not always the dominant species in its range, as when it competes for prey with other predators such as the jaguar, grey wolf, American Black Bear, and the grizzly bear. It is a reclusive cat and usually avoids people. Attacks on humans remain rare, despite a recent increase in frequency.

Due to excessive hunting following the European colonization of the Americas, and the continuing human development of cougar habitat, populations have dropped in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America, except for an isolated sub-population in Florida; the animal may be recolonizing parts of its former eastern territory, such as Maine and northern Michigan, where there have been recent sightings. With its vast range, the cougar has dozens of names and various references in the mythology of the indigenous Americans and in contemporary culture. In North America, the cougar is native to Western Canada, Washington, Oregon and Northern California. Oregon alone is home to more than 5,000 cougars, with the highest densities in the Blue Mountains in the northeastern part of the state and in the southwestern Cascade Mountains. Their primarily food source here is deer, but they will also consume elk, raccoons, bighorn sheep, and other mammals and birds.

Cougars are territorial animals and maintain home ranges of up to 100 miles. Most active at dawn and dusk, they are lone hunters. They are generally solitary animals, except for mothers who remain with kittens for about two years. While actual cougar sightings have increased, coyotes, bobcats, and dogs are often mistaken for cougars. A cougar can be identified by its large size, cat-like appearance, consistent tan or tawny body color, and long tail. An adult cougar's tail is nearly three feet long and can be a third to a half of its total length. Cougar tracks can be differentiated from dog tracks by paying attention to detail. The cougar has recently made a comeback in the state of Wyoming, where it presently has the largest population in North America[citation needed].

Naming and etymology

The cougar has numerous names in English, of which puma and mountain lion are popular. Other names include catamount, panther, mountain screamer and painter. Lexicographers regard painter as a primarily upper-Southern U.S. regional variant on "panther", but a folk etymology, fancying a resemblance between the typically dark tip of its tail and a paintbrush dipped in dark paint, has some currency.

The cougar holds the Guinness record for the animal with the highest number of names, presumably due to its wide distribution across North and South America. It has over 40 names in English alone.

"Cougar" may be borrowed from the Portuguese çuçuarana, via French; the term was originally derived from the Tupi language. A current form in Brazil is suçuarana. It may also be borrowed from the Guaraní language term guaçu ara or guazu ara. "Puma" comes, via Spanish, from the Quechua language.

Taxonomy and evolution

The cougar is the largest of the small cats. It is placed in the subfamily Felinae, although its bulk characteristics are similar to those of the big cats in the subfamily Pantherinae. The family Felidae is believed to have originated in Asia approximately 11 million years ago. Taxonomic research on felids remains partial and much of what is known about their evolutionary history is based on mitochondrial DNA analysis, as cats are poorly represented in the fossil record, and there are significant confidence intervals with suggested dates.

Although large, the cougar is more closely related to small felines.

In the latest genomic study of Felidae, the common ancestor of today's Leopardus, Lynx, Puma, Prionailurus, and Felis lineages migrated across the Bering land bridge into the Americas approximately 8 to 8.5 million years (Ma) ago. The lineages subsequently diverged in that order. North American felids then invaded South America 3 Ma ago as part of the Great American Interchange, following formation of the Isthmus of Panama. The cougar was originally thought to belong in Felis (Felis concolor), the genus which includes the domestic cat. As of 1993, it is now placed in Puma along with the jaguarundi, a cat just a little more than a tenth its weight.

Studies have indicated that the cougar and jaguarundi are most closely related to the modern cheetah of Africa and western Asia, but the relationship is unresolved. It has been suggested that the cheetah lineage diverged from the Puma lineage in the Americas (see American cheetah) and migrated back to Asia and Africa, while other research suggests the cheetah diverged in the Old World itself. The outline of small feline migration to the Americas is thus unclear.

Recent studies have demonstrated a high level of genetic similarity among the North American cougar populations, suggesting that they are all fairly recent descendants of a small ancestral group. Culver et al. suggest that the original North American population of Puma concolor was extirpated during the Pleistocene extinctions some 10,000 years ago, when other large mammals such as Smilodon also disappeared. North America was then repopulated by a group of South American cougars.

Subspecies

Until the late 1990s, as many as 32 subspecies were recorded; however, a recent genetic study of mitochondrial DNA found that many of these are too similar to be recognized as distinct at a molecular level. Following the research, the canonical Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition) recognizes six subspecies, five of which are solely found in Latin America.

Argentine puma (Puma concolor cabrerae)
includes the previous subspecies and synonyms hudsonii and puma (Marcelli, 1922);
Costa Rican Cougar (Puma concolor costaricensis)
Eastern South American cougar (Puma concolor anthonyi)
includes the previous subspecies and synonyms acrocodia, borbensis, capricornensis, concolor (Pelzeln, 1883), greeni and nigra;
North American Cougar (Puma concolor couguar)
includes the previous subspecies and synonyms arundivaga, aztecus, browni, californica, coryi, floridana, hippolestes, improcera, kaibabensis, mayensis, missoulensis, olympus, oregonensis, schorgeri, stanleyana, vancouverensis and youngi;
Northern South American cougar (Puma concolor concolor)
includes the previous subspecies and synonyms bangsi, incarum, osgoodi, soasoaranna, sussuarana, soderstromii, sucuacuara and wavula;
Southern South American puma (Puma concolor puma)
includes the previous subspecies and synonyms araucanus, concolor (Gay, 1847), patagonica, pearsoni and puma (Trouessart, 1904)

The status of the Florida panther, here collapsed into the North American Cougar, remains uncertain. It is still regularly listed as subspecies Puma concolor coryi in research works, including those directly concerned with its conservation. Culver et al. themselves noted low microsatellite variation in the Florida panther, possibly due to inbreeding, responding to the research, one conservation team suggests "the degree to which the scientific community has accepted the results of Culver et al. and the proposed change in taxonomy is not resolved at this time."

Biology and behavior

Physical characteristics

Cougars are slender and agile cats. Adults stand about 60 to 76 centimeters (2.0 to 2.5 ft) tall at the shoulders. The length of adult males is around 2.4 meters (8 ft) long nose to tail, with overall ranges between 1.5 and 2.75 m (5 and 9 ft) nose to tail suggested for the species in general. Males typically weigh 53 to 90 kilograms (115 to 198 pounds), averaging 62 kg (137 lb). In rare cases, some may reach over 120 kg (264 lb). Females typically weigh between 29 and 64 kg (64 and 141 lb), averaging 42 kg (93 lb). Cougar size is smallest close to the equator, and larger towards the poles.

Although cougars resemble the domestic cat, they are about the same size as an adult human.

The head of the cat is round and the ears erect. Its powerful forequarters, neck, and jaw serve to grasp and hold large prey. It has five retractable claws on its forepaws (one a dewclaw) and four on its hind paws. The larger front feet and claws are adaptations to clutching prey.

Cougars can be almost as large as jaguars, but are less muscular and not as powerful; where their ranges overlap, the cougar tends to be smaller than average. The cougar is on average as heavy as the leopard. Despite its size, it is not typically classified among the "big cats," as it cannot roar, lacking the specialized larynx and hyoid apparatus of Panthera. Like domestic cats, cougars vocalize low-pitched hisses, growls, and purrs, as well as chirps and whistles. They are well known for their screams, as referenced in some of their common names, although these screams are often misinterpreted to be the calls of other animals.

Rear paw of a cougar.

Cougar coloring is plain (hence the Latin concolor) but can vary greatly between individuals and even between siblings. The coat is typically tawny, but ranges to silvery-grey or reddish, with lighter patches on the under body including the jaws, chin, and throat. Infants are spotted and born with blue eyes and rings on their tails, juveniles are pale, and dark spots remain on their flanks. Despite anecdotes to the contrary, all-black coloring (melanism) has never been documented in cougars. The term "black panther" is used colloquially to refer to melanistic individuals of other species, particularly jaguars and leopards.

Cougars have large paws and proportionally the largest hind legs in the cat family. This physique allows it great leaping and short-sprint ability. An exceptional vertical leap of 5.4 m (18 ft) is reported for the cougar. Horizontal jumping capability from standing position is suggested anywhere from 6 to 12 m (20 to 40 ft). The cougar can run as fast as 55 to 72 km/h (35 to 45 mi/h), but is best adapted for short, powerful sprints rather than long chases. It is adept at climbing, which allows it to evade canine competitors. Although it is not strongly associated with water, it can swim.

Hunting and diet

A successful generalist predator, the cougar will eat any animal it can catch, from insects to large ungulates (over 500 kg). Like all cats, it is an obligate carnivore, feeding only on meat. The Mean weight of vertebrate prey (MWVP) was positively correlated (r=0.875) with puma body weight and inversely correlated (r=-0.836) with food niche breadth in all America. In general, MWVP was lower in areas closer to the Equator. Its most important prey species are various deer species, particularly in North America; mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and even large moose are taken by the cat. Other species such as Bighorn Sheep, wild horses of Arizona, domestic horses, and domestic livestock such as cattle and sheep are also primary food bases in many areas. A survey of North America research found 68% of prey items were ungulates, especially deer. Only the Florida Panther showed variation, often preferring feral hogs and armadillos.

Shown eating. Cougars are ambush predators, feeding mostly on deer and other mammals.

Investigation in Yellowstone National Park showed that elk, followed by mule deer, were the cougar's primary targets; the prey base is shared with the park's gray wolves, with whom the cougar competes for resources. Another study on winter kills (November–April) in Alberta showed that ungulates accounted for greater than 99% of the cougar diet. Learned, individual prey recognition was observed, as some cougars rarely killed bighorn sheep, while others relied heavily on the species.

In the Central and South American cougar range, the ratio of deer in the diet declines. Small to mid-size mammals are preferred, including large rodents such as the capybara. Ungulates accounted for only 35% of prey items in one survey, approximately half that of North America. Competition with the larger jaguar has been suggested for the decline in the size of prey items. Other listed prey species of the cougar include mice, porcupine, and hares. Birds and small reptiles are sometimes preyed upon in the south, but this is rarely recorded in North America. Not all of their prey is listed here due to their large range.

Though capable of sprinting, the cougar is typically an ambush predator. It stalks through brush and trees, across ledges, or other covered spots, before delivering a powerful leap onto the back of its prey and a suffocating neck bite. The cougar is capable of breaking the neck of some of its smaller prey with a strong bite and momentum bearing the animal to the ground.

Kills are generally estimated at around one large ungulate every two weeks. The period shrinks for females raising young, and may be as short as one kill every three days when cubs are nearly mature at around 15 months. The cat drags a kill to a preferred spot, covers it with brush, and returns to feed over a period of days. It is generally reported that the cougar is a non-scavenger and will rarely consume prey it has not killed; but deer carcasses left exposed for study were scavenged by cougars in California, suggesting more opportunistic behavior.

Reproduction and lifecycle

Females reach sexual maturity between one-and-a-half to three years of age. They typically average one litter every two to three years throughout their reproductive life, though the period can be as short as one year. Females are in estrus for approximately 8 days of a 23-day cycle; the gestation period is approximately 91 days. Females are sometimes reported as monogamous, but this is uncertain and polygyny may be more common. Copulation is brief but frequent.

Cougar kittens.

Only females are involved in parenting. Female cougars are fiercely protective of their kittens, and have been seen to successfully fight off animals as large as grizzly bears in their defense. Litter size is between one and six kittens; typically two or three. Caves and other alcoves that offer protection are used as litter dens. Born blind, kittens are completely dependent on their mother at first, and begin to be weaned at around three months of age. As they grow, they begin to go out on forays with their mother, first visiting kill sites, and after six months beginning to hunt small prey on their own. Kitten survival rates are just over one per litter.

Young adults leave their mother to attempt to establish their own territory at around two years of age and sometimes earlier; males tend to leave sooner. One study has shown high morbidity amongst cougars that travel farthest from the maternal range, often due to conflicts with other cougars (intraspecific competition). Research in New Mexico has shown that "males dispersed significantly farther than females, were more likely to traverse large expanses of non-cougar habitat, and were probably most responsible for nuclear gene flow between habitat patches."

Life expectancy in the wild is reported at between 8 to 13 years, and probably averages 8 to 10; a female of at least 18 years was reported killed by hunters on Vancouver Island. Cougars may live as long as 20 years in captivity. One male North American cougar, named Scratch, was two months short of his 30th birthday when he died in 2007. Causes of death in the wild include disability and disease, competition with other cougars, starvation, accidents, and, where allowed, human hunting. Feline immunodeficiency virus, an endemic AIDS-like disease in cats, is well-adapted to the cougar.

Social structure and home range

Like almost all cats, the cougar is a solitary animal. Only mothers and kittens live in groups, with adults meeting only to mate. It is secretive and crepuscular, being most active around dawn and dusk.

Estimates of territory sizes vary greatly. Canadian Geographic reports large male territories of 150 to 1000 square kilometers (58 to 386 sq mi) with female ranges half the size. Other research suggests a much smaller lower limit of 25 km2 (10 sq mi) but an even greater upper limit of 1300 km2 (500 sq mi) for males. In the United States, very large ranges have been reported in Texas and the Black Hills of the northern Great Plains, in excess of 775 km2 (300 sq mi). Male ranges may include or overlap with those of females but, at least where studied, not with those of other males, which serves to reduce conflict between cougars. Ranges of females may overlap slightly with each other. Scrape marks, urine, and feces are used to mark territory and attract mates. Males may scrape together a small pile of leaves and grasses and then urinate on it as a way of marking territory.

Home range sizes and overall cougar abundance depend on terrain, vegetation, and prey abundance. One female adjacent to the San Andres Mountains, for instance, was found with a large range of 215 km2 (83 sq mi), necessitated by poor prey abundance. Research has shown cougar abundances from 0.5 animals to as much as 7 (in one study in South America) per 100 km2 (38 sq mi).

Because males disperse further than females and compete more directly for mates and territory, they are most likely to be involved in conflict. Where a sub-adult fails to leave his maternal range, for example, he may be killed by his father. When males encounter each other, they hiss, spit, and may engage in violent conflict if neither backs down. Hunting or relocation of the cougar may increase aggressive encounters by disrupting territories and bringing young, transient animals into conflict with established individuals.

Ecology

Distribution and habitat

The cougar has the largest range of any wild land animal in the Americas. Its range spans 110 degrees of latitude, from northern Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes. It is one of only three cat species, along with the bobcat and Canadian lynx, native to Canada. Its wide distribution stems from its adaptability to virtually every habitat type: it is found in all forest types as well as in lowland and mountainous deserts. Studies show that the Cougar prefers regions with dense underbrush, but can live with little vegetation in open areas. Its preferred habitats include precipitous canyons, escarpments, rim rocks, and dense brush.

Cougar, photographed in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona.

The cougar was extirpated across much of its eastern North American range (with the exception of Florida) in the two centuries after European colonization, and faced grave threats in the remainder of its territory. Currently, it ranges across most western American states, the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the Canadian Yukon Territory. There have been widely debated reports of possible recolonization of eastern North America. DNA evidence has suggested its presence in eastern North America, while a consolidated map of cougar sightings shows numerous reports, from the mid-western Great Plains through to Eastern Canada.[43] The Quebec wildlife services (known locally as MRNF) also considers Cougar to be present in the province as a threatened species after multiple DNA tests confirmed cougar hair in Lynx mating sites. The only unequivocally known eastern population is the Florida panther, which is critically endangered. There have also been sightings in Elliotsville, Maine (in the central part of the state); and in New Hampshire, there have been recent sightings as early as 1997. In 2009, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed a cougar sighting in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Typically, extreme-range sightings of cougars involve young males, who can travel great distances to establish ranges away from established males; all four confirmed cougar kills in Iowa since 2000 involved males.


On April 14, 2008 police shot and killed a cougar on the north side of Chicago, Illinois. DNA tests were consistent with cougars from the Black Hills of South Dakota. Less than one year later, on March 5, 2009, a cougar was photographed and unsuccessfully tranquilized by state wildlife biologists in a tree near Spooner, Wisconsin in the northwestern part of the state.[48]

South of the Rio Grande, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists the cat in every Central and South American country except Costa Rica and Panama. While specific state and provincial statistics are often available in North America, much less is known about the cat in its southern range.

The cougar's total breeding population is estimated at less than 50,000 by the IUCN, with a declining trend. U.S. state-level statistics are often more optimistic, suggesting cougar populations have rebounded. In Oregon, a healthy population of 5,000 was reported in 2006, exceeding a target of 3,000.[50] California has actively sought to protect the cat and a similar number of cougars has been suggested, between 4,000 and 6,000.

Ecological role

Aside from humans, no species preys upon mature cougars in the wild. The cat is not, however, the apex predator throughout much of its range. In its northern range, the cougar interacts with other powerful predators such as the brown bear and gray wolf. In the south, the cougar must compete with the larger jaguar. In Florida it encounters the American Alligator.

Puma Pfote.png
Front paw print of a cougar. An adult paw print is approximately 10 cm (4 inches) long.[52]

The Yellowstone National Park ecosystem provides a fruitful microcosm to study inter-predator interaction in North America. Of the three large predators, the massive brown bear appears dominant, often although not always able to drive both the gray wolf pack and the cougar off their kills. One study found that Brown or American Black Bears visited 24% of cougar kills in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, usurping 10% of carcasses.

The gray wolf and the cougar compete more directly for prey, especially in winter. While individually more powerful than the gray wolf, a solitary cougar may be dominated by the pack structure of the canines. Wolves can steal kills and occasionally kill the cat. One report describes a large pack of fourteen wolves killing a female cougar and her kittens. Conversely, lone wolves are at a disadvantage, and have been reported killed by cougars. Wolves more broadly affect cougar population dynamics and distribution by dominating territory and prey opportunities, and disrupting the feline's behavior. Preliminary research in Yellowstone, for instance, has shown displacement of the cougar by wolves. One researcher in Oregon notes: "When there is a pack around, cougars are not comfortable around their kills or raising kittens ... A lot of times a big cougar will kill a wolf, but the pack phenomenon changes the table." Both species, meanwhile, are capable of killing mid-sized predators such as bobcats and coyotes and tend to suppress their numbers.

In the southern portion of its range, the cougar and jaguar share overlapping territory. The jaguar tends to take larger prey and the cougar smaller where they overlap, reducing the cougar's size. Of the two felines, the cougar appears best able to exploit a broader prey niche and smaller prey.

As with any predator at or near the top of its food chain, the cougar impacts the population of prey species. Predation by cougars has been linked to changes in the species mix of deer in a region. For example, a study in British Columbia observed that the population of mule deer, a favored cougar prey, was declining while the population of the less frequently preyed-upon white-tailed deer was increasing. The Vancouver Island Marmot, an endangered species endemic to one region of dense cougar population, has seen decreased numbers due to cougar and gray wolf predation.

In the southern part of South America the Puma is a top level predator that has controlled the population of Guanaco and other species since prehistoric times.

Hybrids

Pumapard, taken in 1904

A pumapard is a hybrid animal resulting from a union between a cougar and a leopard. Three sets of these hybrids were bred in the late 1890s and early 1900s by Carl Hagenbeck at his animal park in Hamburg, Germany. Most did not reach adulthood. One of these was purchased in 1898 by Berlin Zoo. A similar hybrid in Berlin Zoo purchased from Hagenbeck was a cross between a male leopard and a female puma. Hamburg Zoo's specimen was the reverse pairing, the one in the black and white photo, fathered by a puma bred to an Indian leopardess.

Whether born to a female puma mated to a male leopard, or to a male puma mated to a female leopard, pumapards inherit a form of dwarfism. Those reported grew to only half the size of the parents. They have a puma-like long body (proportional to the limbs, but nevertheless shorter than either parent), but short legs. The coat is variously described as sandy, tawny or greyish with brown, chestnut or "faded" rosettes.

Conservation status

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) currently lists the cougar as a "least concern" species. The cougar is regulated under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),[62] rendering illegal international trade in specimens or parts.

Cougar conservation depends on preservation of their habitat.

In the United States east of the Mississippi River, the only unequivocally known cougar population is the Florida panther. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes both an Eastern cougar and the Florida panther, affording protection under the Endangered Species Act. Certain taxonomic authorities have collapsed both designations into the North American Cougar, with Eastern or Florida subspecies not recognized, while a subspecies designation remains recognized by some conservation scientists. The most recent documented count for the Florida sub-population is 87 individuals, reported by recovery agencies in 2003.

The cougar is also protected across much of the rest of their range. As of 1996, cougar hunting was prohibited in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and Uruguay. (Costa Rica and Panama are not listed as current range countries by the IUCN.) The cat had no reported legal protection in Ecuador, El Salvador, and Guyana.[19] Regulated cougar hunting is still common in the United States and Canada, although they are protected from all hunting in the Yukon.; it is permitted in every U.S. state from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, with the exception of California. Texas is the only state in the United States with a viable population of cougars that does not protect, in some way, of its cougar population. In Texas, cougars are listed as nuisance wildlife and any person holding a hunting or a trapping permit can kill a cougar regardless of the season, number killed, sex or age of the animal. Killed animals are not required to be reported to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Conservation work in Texas is the effort of a non profit organization, Balanced Ecology Inc. (BEI), as part of their Texas Mountain Lion Conservation Project. Cougars are generally hunted with packs of dogs, until the animal is 'treed'. When the hunter arrives on the scene, he shoots the cat from the tree at close range. The Cougar cannot be legally killed in California except under very specific circumstances, such as when an individual is declared a public safety threat. However statistics from the Department of Fish and Game indicate that cougar killings in California have been on the rise since 1970s with an average of over 112 cats killed per year from 2000 to 2006 compared to six per year in the 1970s. The Bay Area Puma Project aims to obtain information on cougar populations in the San Francisco Bay area and the animals' interactions with habitat, prey, humans, and residential communities.

Conservation threats to the species include persecution as a pest animal, environmental degradation and habitat fragmentation, and depletion of their prey base. Wildlife corridor and sufficient range areas are critical to the sustainability of cougar populations. Research simulations have shown that the animal faces a low extinction risk in areas of 2200 km2 (850 sq mi) or more. As few as one to four new animals entering a population per decade markedly increases persistence, foregrounding the importance of habitat corridors.

Relationships with humans

In mythology

Moche puma, Larco Museum collection

The grace and power of the cougar have been widely admired in the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Inca city of Cusco is reported to have been designed in the shape of a cougar, and the animal also gave its name to both Inca regions and people. The Moche people represented the puma often in their ceramics. The sky and thunder god of the Inca, Viracocha, has been associated with the animal.

In North America, mythological descriptions of the cougar have appeared in the stories of the Hocąk language ("Ho-Chunk" or "Winnebago") of Wisconsin and Illinois and the Cheyenne, amongst others. To the Apache and Walapai of Arizona, the wail of the Cougar was a harbinger of death.

Livestock predation

During the early years of ranching, cougars were considered on par with wolves in destructiveness. According to figures in Texas in 1990, 86 calves (0.0006% of a total of 13.4 million cattle & calves in Texas), 253 Mohair goats, 302 Mohair kids, 445 sheep (0.02% of a total of 2.0 million sheep & lambs in Texas) and 562 lambs (0.04% of 1.2 million lambs in Texas) were confirmed to have been killed by cougars that year. In Nevada in 1992, cougars were confirmed to have killed 9 calves, 1 horse, 4 colts, 5 goats, 318 sheep and 400 lambs. In both cases, sheep were the most frequently attacked. Some instances of surplus killing have resulted in the deaths of 20 sheep in one attack. Cougars frequently kill calves, sheep and goats by biting the top of the neck or head, differing greatly from the throat bite used by coyotes and indiscriminate mutilation by feral dogs. The size of the tooth puncture marks also helps distinguish kills made by cougars from those made by smaller predators.

Attacks on humans

Mountain Lion warning sign.

Due to the expanding human population, cougar ranges increasingly overlap with areas inhabited by humans. Attacks on humans are rare, as cougar prey recognition is a learned behavior and they do not generally recognize humans as prey. Attacks on people, livestock, and pets may occur when the cat habituates to humans or is in a condition of severe starvation. Attacks are most frequent during late spring and summer, when juvenile cougars leave their mothers and search for new territory.

Between 1890 and 1990, in North America there were 53 reported, confirmed attacks on humans, resulting in 48 nonfatal injuries and 10 deaths of humans (the total is greater than 53 because some attacks had more than one victim). By 2004, the count had climbed to 88 attacks and 20 deaths.

Within North America, the distribution of attacks is not uniform. The heavily populated state of California has seen a dozen attacks since 1986 (after just three from 1890 to 1985), including three fatalities. Lightly populated New Mexico reported an attack in 2008, the first there since 1974.

As with many predators, a cougar may attack if cornered, if a fleeing human stimulates their instinct to chase, or if a person "plays dead." Exaggerating the threat to the animal through intense eye contact, loud but calm shouting, and any other action to appear larger and more menacing, may make the animal retreat. Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.

When cougars do attack, they usually employ their characteristic neck bite, attempting to position their teeth between the vertebrae and into the spinal cord. Neck, head, and spinal injuries are common and sometimes fatal. Children are at greatest risk of attack, and least likely to survive an encounter. Detailed research into attacks prior to 1991 showed that 64% of all victims – and almost all fatalities – were children. The same study showed the highest proportion of attacks to have occurred in British Columbia, particularly on Vancouver Island where cougar populations are especially dense.

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Comment by No one on March 31, 2010 at 8:03pm
Panther
Daniel Waisley
BACKGROUND:

"The puma is prominent in American Indian mythology, with its cunning, agility, and strength respected and admired by many tribes. The animal figures in the magic and shamanism of nearly all ancients as their progenitor, protector, or as a source of power to ward of disease or to excel as a hunter. Others are awed by the animal and consider it an omen of disaster."
The PUMA, Legendary Lion of the Americas - Jim Bob Tinsley

As to Indian myth, from which most of the Shadowrun totems are taken from, Panther is feared and respected, and in some He is regarded as the Protector of the universe. The Zuni believed that the ancient ones wanted the world to be guarded by those keen of sight and scent. The puma (the greatest of them) was the sentinel of the north (the most important position). The Miwoks believed him to be the ideal hunter, while the Apaches and Hualapais thought her wailing was the omen of death. In Navajo myth a hero was wounded by witch objects shot into his body. Puma extracted them and saved his life. They also thought that the Puma benefited them by leaving the better part of the portion of its kill for the people to eat. Conversely the Papago and the later white settlers considered the cougar a flesh eating beast. The Inca hunted many animals in great round-ups where they would hunt the hunter. They found it much easier to catch bear and deer in the rounds-ups then panthers. To many Indian societies it was both a Totem and a source of help for hunting and warfare. In fact the Hopi and Zuni took carved mountain lions when hunting deer in hopes that they would be as good at it as the mountain lion was. In many cultures the puma was often deified for its ability to hunt.

The panther is the largest lone carnivore in North America. It is known for its strength and speed. In fact, a Panther will often beat the larger Jaguar in battle. Of all the great cats the panther is the one to hunt the most out of proportion to its size. The tiger and jaguar my hunt large animals, but they only hunt prey up to about 2-3 times their size. The panther on the other hand is known to hunt animals up to 3-4 times its, giving precedence to the fact that it is one of the most dangerous of hunters. Panthers are also very quite hunters and make little noise when hunting.

Panthers are noted to purr and scream (best description) much like a tabby but 10 times as big and loud. Panthers also have round not slitted eyes. They tend to rely on eyesight for hunting, but have acute hearing and smell.

Totem Identification:

Panther, Mountain Lion, Cougar,
Puma, Catamount and assorted
other English and Indian names (the
America's)

Characteristics:

Panther goes by many names and
faces; to some He is Panther, to
others She is Puma and some know
It as Mountain Lion. Panther likes
it this way, for Panther believes in
stealth. His prey never hears him
before he strikes. Puma is a great
warrior, but prefers the stealthy
approach, for it does not do to go off
half cocked. Cougar is very patient
and quite, he will wait for the right
moment to strike. Panther tends to
try and protect mankind and
innocents from harm. Puma is
mostly solitary but will sometimes
have close companions who she will
defend to the death. Cougar kills
quickly and will use the most
efficient means to do so. He also
tries to leave little evidence of his
acts. Mountain Lion hates Evil and
will try to hunt it down and slay it.


Environment:

Forest and Mountain


Advantages:

+2 dice for combat and illusion
+2 dice for summoning either
forest or mountain spirits
(choose).


Disadvantages:

minimum quickness and
intelligence of 4, Puma believes in
attacking prey intelligently and
quickly. Panther also believes that
her shamans should be able to hunt
and kill without magic (the need to
take stealth and either unarmed or
armed combat as skills). When in
the midst of a large combat the
shaman must make a willpower test
tn# 5 to stop fighting as his instincts
tell him to keep on lashing out.


Quirks:

Puma is not a coward, he will attack
powerful enemies if need be, but
will try to shift the odds in his favor
and will wait for the right moment
and not charge right in. Panther
shamans are know to be quiet
individuals, and will not get into
needless arguments or
conversations. Cougar shamans are
also known for using the bare
minimum of words or gestures
when doing magic, they do not like
to be noticed. The shaman will use
the name he or she feels most
comfortable with in talking about
his totem, for the shaman realizes
that they all describe the totem
equally well.


Note: the use of all the different names and he/she throughout the text was intentional. After all its like Orou said - 'Panther believes in smoke and mirrors.'
Comment by No one on March 31, 2010 at 8:01pm
Panther Mythology

Resources from the Web

By Peter Y. Chou
WisdomPortal.com

Preface: After writing the poem "First Poem in Paris" about Rilke's "The Panther" (1902) and the film Cat People (1942), I began reading more about Rilke's time in Paris with Rodin and the influence of the sculptor on his poetry. I also consulted books and the web on the symbolism and the mythology of the panther. Here are my notes on this creature in myth as well as in the Bible and Dante's Inferno. While the image of the panther strikes fear as a ferocious beast, it is interesting that many positive symbolisms are associated with the panther. During Medieval times, the panther typifies Christ, who stays in the cave for three days, emerging from the darkness with a sweet breath. The ancient Greeks believed the panther was one of the favored mounts of the god Dionysus. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Pepi pass through the ceiling of heaven with his panther skin upon him. Thus the panther signifies the overcoming of the lower earthly desires. The Native Americans regard the panther as the Protector of the universe. It is interesting that Rilke selected this powerful totem, the panther at the Paris Zoo, for his object of contemplation.

Panther: Christian: The panther was said to save people from the dragon or Evil One.
As supposed to have sweet breath, it typified the sweet influence of Christ.
Heraldic: The panther is usually incensed and signifies fiercesness;
fury; impetuosity; remorselessness.
— J. C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols,
Thames & Hudson, London, 1978, p. 126

Panther: The panther (or leopard) was a totemic symbol of Dionysis,
whose priests wore panther-skins. Its name in Greek meant "All-beast" referring
to the god as "the All" which was also another beast version of divinity, Pan.
Panthers were much admired in Rome, and were imported from Africa for public
displays and games in the arena.
— Barbara G. Walker, The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects,
HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1988, p. 385

Panther Skin: A symbol signifying the overcoming of the lower desires.
"The iron which is the ceiling of heaven opens itself before Pepi, and he passes
through it with his panther skin upon him, and his staff and whip in his hand."
— E.A. Wallis Budge, Book of the Dead, Vol. I, p. lxiii.
The higher mind, which is the firmament below the buddhic plane, is receptive
of the consciousness of the purified soul which has overcome the desires,
and actively aspires to that which is above.
— G. A. Gaskell, The Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myth,
Avenel Books, NY, 1981 (original: Julian Press, 1960), p. 559

Panther: Legendary Creature
A Panther is a creature out of ancient myth that resembles a big cat with a multicoloured hide. Under medieval belief after feasting the panther will sleep in a cave for a total of three days. After this period ends, the panther roars, in the process emiting a sweet smelling odour. This odour draws in any creatures who smell it (the dragon being the only creature immune) and the cycle begins again. The ancient Greeks believed the panther was one of the favored mounts of the god Dionysus. Other names for this creature are pantera, pantere, and love cervere. In Germany, the panther is often depicted in heraldry as a creature with four horns, cow's ears and a fiery red tongue. The coat-of-arms of the city of Cres, Croatia shows a panther with a fiery tongue. This form is known as the Panther Incensed with flames coming from its mouth and ears, representing the panther's sweet odour. This form was most notably used by King Henry VI as his badge and by other members of the House of Lancaster. The Heraldry from Raglan Castle, England featuring an example of a non-feline panther is shown at left.
[Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther_(legendary_creature)]

Panther Totem:
As to Indian myth, which most of the totems are taken from, Panther is feared and respected, and in some is regarded as the Protector of the universe. The Zuni believed that he ancient ones wanted the world to be guarded by those keen of sight and scent. The puma (the greatest of them) was the sentinel of the north (the most important position). The Miwoks believed him to be the ideal hunter, while the Apaches and Hualapais thought her wailing was the omen of death. In Navajo myth a hero was wounded by witch objects shot into his body. Puma extracts them and save his life. They also thought that the Puma benefited them by leaving the better part of the portion of its kill for the people to eat. Conversely the Papago and the later white settlers considered the cougar a flesh eating beast. The Inca hunted many animals in great round-ups where they would hunt the hunter. They found it much easier to catch bear and deer in the rounds-ups then panthers. To many Indian societies it was both a Totem and a source of help for hunting and warfare. In fact the Hopi and Zuni took carved mountain lions when hunting deer in hopes that they would be as good at it as the mountain lion was. In many cultures the puma was often deified for its ability to hunt.
(http://dana.ucc.nau.edu/djw2/panther.html)

Panther as a Totem
The panther is a very powerful and ancient totem. It is generally associated with a particular species of leopard or jaguar although the cougar is also referred to as panther. As with most of the large cats, the panther is a symbol of ferocity and valor. It embodies aggressiveness and power, but without the solar significance. In the case of the Black Panther, there is definitely a lunar significance. The panther has over 500 voluntary muscles that they can use at will. This reflects a lot about an individual who has such animals as totems. It reflects an ability to do a variety of tasks as he or she wills. It is simply a matter of deciding and putting to use those particular "muscles" - be they physical, mental, psychic, or spiritual. As a whole panthers are loners (solitary) although they do associate with others, they are most comfortable by themselves or within their own marked territory. They are drawn to those individuals who are likewise often solitary.
Of all the panthers, probably the Black Panther has the greatest mysticism associated with it. It is the symbol of the feminine, the dark mother, the dark of the moon. It is the symbol for the life and power of the night. It is a symbol of the feminine energies manifest upon the earth. It is often a symbol of darkness, death, and rebirth from out of it. There still exists in humanity a primitive fear of the dark and of death. The Black Panther helps us to understand the dark and death and the inherent powers of them; and thus by acknowledging them, eliminate our fears and learn to use the powers.
In China there were five mythic cats, sometimes painted like tigers or leopards. The black reigns in the north with winter as its season of power, and water it's most effective element. This is the element of the feminine. This is the totem of greater assertion of feminine in all her aspects: child, virgin, seductress, mother, warrioress, seeress, old wise woman.
When the Black Panther enters your life as a totem, it awakens the inner passions. This can manifest in unbridled expressions of baser powers and instincts. It can also reflect an awakening of the kundalini, signaling a time of not just coming into one's own power. More so, the keynote of the Black Panther is Reclaiming One's True Power. In mythology and scripture, the panther has been a symbol of the "Argos of a Thousand Eyes," who guarded the heifer Io who was loved by Zeus. After his death, the eyes were transferred to the feathers of the peacock. The panther always brings a guardian energy to those to whom it comes.
The panther has also been attributed to Jesus. In the Abodazara (early Jewish commentaries on the scriptures), it is listed as a surname for the family of Joseph. It tells how a man was healed "in the name of Jesus ben Panther." Because of this the panther often signals a time of rebirth after a period of suffering and death on some level. This implies that an old issue may finally begin to be resolved, or even that old longstanding wounds will finally begin to heal, and with the healing will come a reclaiming of power that was lost at the time of wounding.
In the myths and stories of Dionysus the panther is a symbol of unleashing desires, and thus the awakening of the kundalini forces. The panther symbolizes a time of moving from mere poles of existence to a new life without poles or barriers. The panther in a Dionysic manner awakens the unconscious urges and abilities that have been closed down. It signals a time of imminent awakening.
To the Indians of North and South America, the jaguar especially in the form of the Black Panther - was endowed with great magic and power. The jaguar panther climbs, runs, and swims— even better than the tiger. Because it could function so well in so many areas, it became the symbol of mastery over all dimensions. To the Tucano Indians of the Amazon, the roar of the jaguar was the roar of thunder. Thus the Black Panther was the god of darkness and could cause eclipses by swallowing the sun. This reflects the tremendous power inherent within the feminine forces. To those with the panther as a totem, this power will increasingly be experienced. The Arawak Indians say that everything has jaguar. Nothing exists without it. It is the tie to all life and all manifestations of life (thus ties to the eternal feminine within all life). To them, becoming the man-jaguar was the ultimate shapeshifting ritual. The Olmecs created monuments to the jaguar, and the Aztecs and Mayans spoke and taught about the power in becoming half-human and half-jaguar. One who can become a jaguar is shorn of all cultural restrictions. The alter ego is free to act out desires, fears, aspirations. The Indian shamans would perform rituals to borrow jaguar power. One who could do such could do great good or great ill.
Nietzsche once said that "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." It is this same idea that is awakened in the lives of those who open to the power of the panther totem. Those things of childhood and beyond that created suffering and which caused a loss of innate power and creativity are about to be reawakened, confronted and transmuted. The panther marks a new turn in the heroic path of those to whom it comes. It truly reflects more than just coming into one's own power. Rather it reflects a reclaiming of that which was lost and an intimate connection with the great archetypal force behind it. It gives an ability to go beyond what has been imagined, with opportunity to do so with discipline and control. It is the spirit of imminent rebirth."
(Ted Andrews, "Animal Speak": http://www.greatdreams.com/panther.htm)

Panther:
General: Animal species; Pink Panther films; Mac OSX v10.3 code name; Panther motorcycle, Panther Westwinds car. Politics: Black Panther Party; Gray Panthers; White Panther Party; Israeli Black Panthers. Military: Panther tank; F9F Panther; Panther Command; German gunboat; Eurocopter Panther. Pro Sports: Florida Panthers, Carolina Panthers, Pernrith Panthers; Michigan Panthers; Nottingham Panthers. College Sports: Pittsburgh Panthers; Northern Iowa Panthers; Georgia State Panthers; Plymouth State Panthers. Geography: Panther, Iowa; Panther, Kentucky; Panther, Nevada; Panther, Oklahoma; Panther, Pennsylvania; Panther, West Virginia. Media: Panther 1995 film; Panther publishing house; Panther rock band from Brooklyn, New York. Video Games: Panther, a tank simulator by John Edo Daefell in the late 1970s.
(Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther)

Leopard:
The Leopard (Panthera pardus) is one of the four 'big cats' of the genus Panthera. Originally, it was thought that a leopard was a hybrid between a lion and a panther, and the leopard's common name derives from this belief; leo is the Greek and Latin word for lion (Greek leon) and pard is an old term meaning panther. In fact, a "panther" can be any of several species of large felid. In North America, panther means Cougar and in South America a panther is a jaguar. Elsewhere in the world a panther is a leopard. Early naturalists distinguished between leopards and panthers not by colour (a common misconception), but by the length of the tail— panthers having longer tails than leopards.
(Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard)

Cougar:
The Cougar (Puma concolor), also known as the Puma or Mountain Lion, is a large, solitary cat found in the Americas. It has a vast range, from Yukon Territory in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. Its primary food is deer but it hunts a range of prey, from insects, mice and rabbits to the Domestic Cat, the Domestic Dog, the Alpaca, livestock, and even the Bighorn Sheep and the Elk, and sometimes in the Rocky Mountains kills mature cattle and horses. It is a secretive cat that usually avoids people; it will attack humans, though rarely. In the English language the Cougar has over 40 different names. Cougars are known by many regional names, including Panther, Catamount, Painter, American Lion, Mexican Lion, Florida Panther, Silver Lion, Red Lion, Red Panther, Red Tiger, Brown Tiger, Deer Tiger, Ghost Cat, Mountain Screamer, Indian Devil, Sneak Cat, King Cat, and Painted Cat. The word Puma comes from the Quechua language. In Brazil it is also known as the Suçuarana, from the Tupi language, but also has other names.
(Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar)

Jaguarundi:
The Jaguarundi (Puma yaguarondi) is a medium-sized Central and South American wild cat: average length 65 cm (30 inches) with 45 cm (20 in) of tail. It has short legs and an appearance somewhat like an otter; the ears are short and rounded. The coat is unspotted, uniform in color, and varying from blackish to brownish gray (gray phase) or from foxy red to chestnut (red phase). The two color phases were once thought to represent two distinct species; the gray one called "Jaguarundi", and the red one called "Eyra". However, these are the same species and both color phases may be found in the same litter. Its coat has no markings except for spots at birth. This cat is closely related to the Cougar as evident by its similar genetic structure and chromosome count; both species are in the genus Puma although it is sometimes classified under a separate genus, Herpailurus and until recently, both cats were classified under the genus Felis. In some Spanish speaking countries, the Jaguarundi is also called "Leoncillo", which means "little lion". (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguarundi)

Florida Panther:
The Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi) is a critically endangered subspecies of Puma that lives in the low pinelands, palm forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States, within a range that includes the Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.[2] This Cougar, the only Puma representative in the eastern United States, currently occupies only 5% of its historic range. There are fewer than 70 breeding individuals, with a total population of 87. (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Panther)

Bible Citations: Leopard (6), Leopards (2)
And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were
as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and
the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
— Revelations, XIII.2

Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the
evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities:
every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their
transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.
— Jeremiah, V.6

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
— Isaiah, XI.6

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?
then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
— Jeremiah, XIII.23

After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it
four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
— Daniel, VII.6

Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:
— Hosea, XIII.7

Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana,
from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
— Song of Solomon, IV.8

Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the
evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen
shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
— Habakkuk, I.8

Citations in Dante's Inferno
Canto I of Dante's Inferno (Dante is impeded by the three beasts):
Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar de l'erta,
una lonza leggera e presta molto,
che di pel macolato era coverta;
e non mi si partia dinanzi al volto,
anzi 'mpediva tanto il mio cammino,
ch'i' fui per ritornar più volte vòòto.
And almost where the hillside starts to rise—
look there!— a leopard, very quick and lithe,
a leopard covered with a spotted hide.
He did not disappear from sight, but stayed;
indeed, he so impeded my ascent
that I had often to turn back again.
— Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Inferno, I.31-36
(Allen Mandelbaum translation, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984)

Commentary on Dante's Inferno Beasts
The Three Beasts: These three beasts undoubtedly are taken from Jeremiah V.6. Many additional and incidental interpretations have been advanced for them, but the cental interpretation must remain as noted. They foreshadow the three divisions of Hell (incontinence, violence, and fraud) which Virgil explains at length in Inferno XI.16-111.
— John Ciardi (tr.), The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Norton, New York, 1977, p. 6 (Notes)

una lonza: Old French lonce. This animal is mentioned in the medieval bestiaries. The description in the Bestiario toscano indicates a rather special animal: "The loncia or lonza is a vicious, ferocious animal, born of the carnal union of a lion with a leopardess or of a leopard with a lioness." Some insist that the lonza is the femal of the pardus, an identification that fits the requirements of Jeremiah V.6 Benvenuto says: "This Florentine word lonza seems to signify the leopardess, rather than any other wild beast." And Buti mentions "the lonza, which is the female of that animal called the leopard".
— Charles Singleton (tr.) , Dante Alighieri: The Divine Comedy: Inferno 2. Commentary
Bollingen Series LXXX, Princeton University Press, 1970, pp. 10-11
Comment by No one on March 31, 2010 at 7:53pm
July 22-August 22.The Cougar (Leo). The cougar is lightening fast; determined, stealthy and cunning. This personality is known for leadership, bravery, foresight, much like its corresponding sign on the Zodiac, Leo. It is best not to take the Cougar personality lightly and to respect this person’s integrity. The Cougar person has the strength and agility to accomplish much. Do not attempt to undermine or engage in battle. The Cougar will not hesitate to strike back, if pushed to do so.
Comment by No one on March 31, 2010 at 7:48pm
The Panther

The name panther is often associated with a particular species of leopard or jaguar and sometimes the cougar. The black panther is smaller but more fierce than lions and tigers. They are agile climbers and excellent swimmers. Because they can sprint with great speed they hold the teachings of quick decisive action.

Panthers have over 400 voluntary muscles that can be used at will when the need arises. This symbolizes an ability to shape shift realities using all parts of the body to perform a task. They can move gracefully in and out of situations as well as freeze and not be noticed. Because the panther is not a good long distant runner those with this medicine should incorporate movement therapies into their life that enhance endurance. They need to learn how to pace themselves and not push to fast or hard on any one task.

The power of the panther is the power of silence. It is extremely quiet when hunting or stalking. It knows when to make its presence known and when to become invisible. The panther holds the secrets of unseen worlds and is associated with lunar energies. Within the darkness of night lies the truth of creation. Those with this totem hold knowledge of a galactic origin. They have a responsibility to care take this knowledge and caution must be applied when sharing it with others. When the student is ready the teacher appears. If the student isn't ready the information received could be detrimental.

Panthers have acute sensitivity. The hairs on its body especially on the face pick up subtle vibrations. This is symbolic for those with this totem. It indicates a need to pay attention to their feelings and honor the messages those feelings convey. Touch can be an important avenue to explore to awaken ones hidden gifts. The black panthers coat, sleek, smooth and sensual has been linked to sexuality. When panther appears in a persons life it might be asking you to resolve old sexual issues or to embrace your sexuality fully.

The black panther has great mysticism associated with it. It represents the life and power of the night. It can show us how to embrace the darkness and awaken the light within it. When you experience the presence of panther one of its most noticeable features is its unblinking stare. It appears to see right through the body. Those with this medicine use their eyes as a healing tool and have the potential to heal on a cellular level.

Author Ted Andrews states that in Egyptian rituals a panther tail was worn around the neck or waist to help protect and strengthen the individual. It has been a symbol of the "Argos of a Thousand Eyes," who guarded the heifer IO who was loved by Zeus. After his death, the eyes were transferred to the feathers of the peacock. A powerful totem to have the panther always brings a guardian energy to those to whom it comes.
Comment by No one on March 31, 2010 at 7:47pm
The Panther

The name panther is often associated with a particular species of leopard or jaguar and sometimes the cougar. The black panther is smaller but more fierce than lions and tigers. They are agile climbers and excellent swimmers. Because they can sprint with great speed they hold the teachings of quick decisive action.

Panthers have over 400 voluntary muscles that can be used at will when the need arises. This symbolizes an ability to shape shift realities using all parts of the body to perform a task. They can move gracefully in and out of situations as well as freeze and not be noticed. Because the panther is not a good long distant runner those with this medicine should incorporate movement therapies into their life that enhance endurance. They need to learn how to pace themselves and not push to fast or hard on any one task.

The power of the panther is the power of silence. It is extremely quiet when hunting or stalking. It knows when to make its presence known and when to become invisible. The panther holds the secrets of unseen worlds and is associated with lunar energies. Within the darkness of night lies the truth of creation. Those with this totem hold knowledge of a galactic origin. They have a responsibility to care take this knowledge and caution must be applied when sharing it with others. When the student is ready the teacher appears. If the student isn't ready the information received could be detrimental.

Panthers have acute sensitivity. The hairs on its body especially on the face pick up subtle vibrations. This is symbolic for those with this totem. It indicates a need to pay attention to their feelings and honor the messages those feelings convey. Touch can be an important avenue to explore to awaken ones hidden gifts. The black panthers coat, sleek, smooth and sensual has been linked to sexuality. When panther appears in a persons life it might be asking you to resolve old sexual issues or to embrace your sexuality fully.

The black panther has great mysticism associated with it. It represents the life and power of the night. It can show us how to embrace the darkness and awaken the light within it. When you experience the presence of panther one of its most noticeable features is its unblinking stare. It appears to see right through the body. Those with this medicine use their eyes as a healing tool and have the potential to heal on a cellular level.

Author Ted Andrews states that in Egyptian rituals a panther tail was worn around the neck or waist to help protect and strengthen the individual. It has been a symbol of the "Argos of a Thousand Eyes," who guarded the heifer IO who was loved by Zeus. After his death, the eyes were transferred to the feathers of the peacock. A powerful totem to have the panther always brings a guardian energy to those to whom it comes.
Comment by No one on March 31, 2010 at 7:45pm
CRICKET AND COUGAR

Cougar was walking in the forest, and he jumped onto a fallen log to look around. From inside the log came a tiny voice.

"Get off the roof of my lodge!" Out from the rotten end of the log came a tiny Cricket. "You are standing on the roof of my lodge, Cougar," said the little insect. You must step off now, or the roof-pole will break and my lodge will fall in."

"Who are you to tell me what to do?" asked Cougar sternly, although he did step off the log. He lowered his head until his nose was very close to Cricket. "In this forest, I am the chief of the animals!"

"Chief or no Chief," said Cricket bravely, "I have a cousin who is mightier than you, and he would avenge me."

I don't believe you, little insect," snarled Cougar, "Believe me or believe me not," said Cricket. "it is so."

"Let your cousin come to this place tomorrow, when the sun is high, and we will see who is the mightier," said Cougar. "If your cousin does not prove himself to me, I will crush you and your entire lodge with my paw!" Cougar turned and bounded off through the forest.

The next day, when the sun was high, Cougar came back along the same trail. He stopped over the log and called to cricket. "Cricket, come out! Let me meet your mighty cousin!"

Just then, a tiny mosquito flew up from the log buzzed into the big cats ear.

"What is this?" cried the cougar, who had never seen or heard a mosquito before. The mosquito began to bite the soft inner ear of the cougar, and drank from his blood. "Ahrr! Ahrr!" cried the cougar in pain, "Get out of my ear!" The cougar pawed at his ear, and ran around in a circle shaking his head. The mosquito bit him again and again.

Cricket came out of the log and called up to the cougar. "Are you ready to leave my lodge alone?"

Cougar said that he would so Mosquito came out of Cougar's ear and went into the log lodge with Cricket. Cougar ran off down the trail, and never went that way again.
Comment by No one on March 31, 2010 at 7:33pm
Perhaps you should read this again and tell me M'Lady of within it what is of you.
Comment by Isabell Demona on March 24, 2010 at 2:04am
Thank You. More on mythogy please.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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