David Dean gave us an up close and personal (and often humorous) look into the lives of the fascinating animals who call the Santa Catalina mountains home.

David retired and relocated to Tucson after having served for 25-years on the faculty of the Department of Biology at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. He is very active in groups supporting the Santa Catalina Ranger District of Coronado National Forest, the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists and the Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol. His captures the wildlife of the Santa Catalina Mountains on video using motion-activated cameras.

The talk was accompanied by beautiful videos. There were Sonoran possums, white backed skunks one of which made amorous advances on the camera, and one of which chased a fox away. There were Western spotted skunks which can climb trees, and which can spray a target the size of a dinner plate 15-feet away. Gray foxes with long bushy tails, able to climb trees, were seen on the videos. A male and female coyote were seen marking their territory as a pair. Calvin Kline Obsession for Men induced a gray fox to roll himself onto that cologne, (which has been used to also attract jaguars and tigers).

Bobcats, whitetail deer, ringtail and white nosed raccoons, and javelinas were also videoed.

A number of mountain lions had their pictures taken. It was clear to understand how a mountain lion can leap 18 feet when you have seen the enormous muscles of the hindquarters of this animal. One mountain lion was seen and heard off camera playing with what turned out to be a can with a rock inside, just as a house cat might do.

Black bears are also in the Catalinas, and videos showed how big and healthy they seem to be.

Finally, there was a list of things to remember when there is a chance meeting with a mountain lion:

  • Don’t run.
  • Take off sunglasses.
  • Keep eye contact.
  • Stay upright.
  • If attacked, fight back.

For more information about the SaddleBrooke Nature Club, go to saddlebrookenatureclub.org or email Howard Cohen at hdjgm@sbcglobal.net.

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