Roaring in fury, the giant predator reared up on his hind legs and lashed viciously at the tree trunk. The cat’s three-inch talons separated strips of bark eleven feet off the ground, sending the juvenile black bear scurrying even higher, safely out of the huge carnivore’s reach. In past years, the ill-tempered predator would have simply climbed the tree after his victim, or if the tree was too small to scale as in this case, used its heavy bulk and powerful front legs to push the sapling over. With the infection in his extremity steadily worsening each day, though, this was no longer an option. Growling and famished, the previous night’s ibex having barely touched his appetite, the enraged carnivore moved away, unmindful of the scattered snow flurries touching his white fur.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The bull elk grazed sanguinely along the edge of the clearing, keeping upwind of the thick copse of loblolly pines and rocky ridgeline. For most of the year a gregarious species, in another three months, this second-largest member of the family cervidae, exceeded in size only by the moose, would be transformed from a gently plodding giant into an aggressive androgen-crazed brute capable of inflicting severe harm with its four-foot tined antlers.
For now, though, the male elk was content to feed on grasses, twigs, bark, and freshly sprouted shoots.
The predator struck quickly, springing from the top of a craggy boulder, landing flush on the back of the thousand-pound mammal. With two lightning-fast thrusts, the cat sank its double scimitar-like canines deep into the bull’s thick neck, lacerating arteries, muscles, and nerves. Geysers of blood spewed from the wounds and in less than fifteen seconds the gangly giant was reduced to a quivering lifeless carcass.
The carnivore tore into the warm fleshy part of the dead elk, pulling and tugging at the soft meat. Prying his imposing snout into the still steaming viscera, he sheared off entire organs in massive chunks. Once his famished appetite was satisfied, the big cat limped back to the cover of the ridgeline.
Read Smilodon and see how the battle plays out!