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Rare video shows mountain lion take down deer

POSTED: June 30, 2017 9:00 a.m.
Grant Olsen/

A trail camera in California captured footage of a mountain lion taking down a deer. And the speed of the attack is stunning.

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Editor's note: The video contains content that may be disturbing to some readers.

WHITMORE, Calif. — As California’s mountain lion population grows, attacks on pets and other wildlife are also on the rise. And a new video shows just how quickly these incidents can occur.

According to a report from Fox News, the video came from a trail camera placed by a California resident named Randy Spade. An avid hunter, Spade has about 30 trail cameras set up on a private ranch owned by a family friend.

“Bears are the main thing we see,” he told Fox News. “Summers are hot up here. We have 30 to 40 days in a row of 100 degrees, and bears love taking a bath in those old watering troughs to cool off.”

But when Spade reviewed footage from a watering hole in early June, he witnessed something he’d never seen before. A deer walked into the frame, triggering the camera. Seconds later, the glowing eyes of a cougar appeared in the darkness.

The big cat lunged at the deer with blinding speed. After the deer was subdued on the ground, subsequent video clips showed the cougar drag it away in the night.

“I was surprised by how fast it struck,” Spade told Fox News. “It was in the blink of an eye.”

This video serves as a stark reminder of the threat of mountain lion attacks on domestic pets. Here are some practical tips to reduce the danger of your pet being attacked:

  • Keep your pets indoors from dusk to dawn
  • Secure your pets in the yard with an enclosure, not a chain
  • Feed your pets indoors
  • Trim brush in your yard to reduce hiding places
  • Install motion-activated lights around your house
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