It’s not only jaguars, tigers, bobcats, and fishing cats bucking the whole notion that felines detest getting their paws wet. The past several years have seen multiple reports (and multiple videos) of dogpaddling pumas in western North America, and we’ve got another one to share with you.

The latest instance took place in August, when fishermen on Flaming Gorge Reservoir along the Wyoming-Utah border filmed a mountain lion taking a dip:

“I didn’t know mountain lions swam,” one of the anglers is heard saying in the video (uploaded to YouTube by Michael Pearson). Indeed, most people probably don’t expect to see a puma going all amphibious, but as we’ve alluded to there’s definitely precedent.

Last November a father and son filmed a pair of pumas paddling Shasta Lake in northern California. That came a few months after boaters near Bellingham, Washington caught a mountain lion on tape swimming a half-mile reach of Lake Whatcom.

In 2013, meanwhile, saltwater-treading pumas were encountered on two different occasions on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island (home to its own cougar subspecies): one in August near Fair Harbour, the other in July in Nootka Sound. Commenting on the latter sighting, Danielle Thompson of Parks Canada told the Times-Colonist that Vancouver Island pumas readily take to water while on the hunt. “They’ll commonly swim between islands in search of prey,” she said. “Their preferred prey is deer, which also swim well.”

It’s worth noting that the fjord- and island-littered coast of British Columbia (also home to wolves that cross channels and bays without compunction) is far from the only especially waterlogged corner of puma country. From the Pantanal to the Everglades, these big cats do just fine prowling magnificently swampy and marshy habitats.

The outlook for the Florida panther – a puma subspecies fighting for survival in the backcountry of South Florida  got a bit brighter with news last year that a female cat had managed to swim across the broad Caloosahatchee River, a natural obstacle to northward expansion of Southwest Florida’s overcrowded panther population. Conservationists believe panthers re-establishing themselves north of the Caloosahatchee is critical to their long-term survival in the region.


Header image: [ Greg ]/Flickr