Trail Cam Records Dramatic Scene Of Mother Elk Stomping on a Cougar’s Head After It Attacked Baby Calf

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: September 20, 2023
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This distressing footage perfectly illustrates the risks that predators sometimes take to secure a meal. An elk calf is a reasonable target for a cougar. In theory, it should be easier to catch than an adult. However, you have to take into account the fact that elk calves are very rarely alone and have a mother nearby! This mother elk will stop at nothing to protect her offspring. Her attack on the cougar is both violent and relentless. We don’t know how this encounter ends, but it looks as if the predator is either severely injured or dead. Scroll down to see the full shocking footage.

What Do Cougars Normally Eat?

Cougars (Felis concolor) are a member of the Puma genus of felines. They are North America’s second largest cat species and most other animals find them quite intimidating. You may also see them called pumas, panthers, or mountain lions. They have a very large range which stretches from Canada’s northern Yukon to the southern Andes. These guys are very adaptable and can live in forests, in mountainous deserts, and in lowland habitats. Having said that, they have a preference for steep canyons and they like to live in areas where there is dense brush for protection.

cougar eating

Cougars are carnivores and must hunt to survive.

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What Do Cougars Normally Eat?

Cougars are carnivores and need to hunt other animals to survive. They usually target smaller animals including mice, raccoons, rabbits, and wild turkeys. The cougars that live in Florida will sometimes hunt crocodiles.

North American cougars frequently hunt deer. They are ambush predators and stalk their victims until the time is right to leap on them. The plan is to deliver a deadly bite to the neck which breaks the spinal cord.

This particular footage was captured in Idaho. In this area, their favorite food is mule deer, but they also catch elk and smaller animals such as ground squirrels. Mountain lions usually live and hunt alone. They cannot rely on other cougars to get them out of difficult situations!

Is This How Elk Normally Behave?

Elk are not the passive herbivores that you may think they are. They have a reputation for being aggressive and will attack without warning. This cougar is clearly a target, but elk have also attacked humans in the past. Elk are particularly dangerous during the fall mating season which stretches from August to September. During this time, males are very belligerent. However, females can be extremely aggressive during the calving season which runs from May to June. During this time, they will happily attack to defend their babies. 

Watch the Shocking Clip Below

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Viacheslav

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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