Mountain lions – like most wild felines – are secretive cats, but for those who live in cougar territory there's always a possibility of catching a glimpse of one of these elusive predators. Colorado resident Charles Zelenka got more than just a glimpse recently when he found a mountain lion in the midst of dispatching a female elk just a few metres from his bathroom window.


 

It was two o'clock in the morning when Zelenka was awoken by loud noises outside his home in Glenwood Canyon. He flicked on the porch light to see a female elk flailing on his porch, and his initial suspicions were that the animal had been struck by a car on the nearby Interstate 70 and stumbled into his yard. Zelenka was on the cusp of opening his porch door to investigate the bizarre scene when a mountain lion surfaced from behind the elk. The footage above was captured on Zelenka's phone as he watched the encounter through his bathroom window.

Cougars are active elk hunters across western North America and, in some areas, these massive ungulates are their favoured prey, along with other deer species. Although hunts are rarely witnessed, mountain lions are believed to be primarily ambush hunters that will stalk their prey from a concealed spot. The cats often stash their kills and return to feed on them for a period of days – something the mountain lion on Zelenka's property tried to do the following evening (at this point the carcass had already been removed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife):


 
Cat Mountain Lion Related 2015 06 24

Top header image: Kristen Ortwerth-Jewell, Flickr