Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 1, 2010

Tricky teeth

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:34 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Deer jawbone, used in "Table of Wonder" demonstration

A table of hands-on “cool stuff” ALWAYS draws people to it, whether in a visitor center or on the trail. The one I am developing beckons people to put their hand into two curtained boxes and see if they can tell the difference between a carnivore jawbone and an herbivore jawbone. I originally thought that only kids would be enticed by the boxes, but NO; everybody wants to touch the bones.

It’s very effective to use a mountain lion skull and a deer skull. Both live in our park, and they illustrate the complex predator-prey food web wonderfully. I ask the kids, “If a cougar can eat one deer a week, and something happens to the cougar, what happens to the deer population?” It’s even MORE fun to ask ranchers that hypothetical question.

A visitor hiking in the backcountry last week reported fresh mountain lion tracks way out by the Colorado River on our eastern boundary. She told me where to find them; I’d like to take my camera out there and look.


  1. lucky for you, you don’t live in California. the mountain lions kill women who foolishly go off on their own over yonder….

    Comment by john — April 1, 2010 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

    • I deleted as a closing phrase, “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s safe.” It’s pretty safe. You don’t jog around cougars, or they think you’re prey. You stand up big and intimidate them and make noise. Besides, they have 100-km circuits they monitor around their territories, and so the chances of being in the same place at the same time are slim to none.

      Comment by kath56ryn — April 1, 2010 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

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