Can You Spot the Mountain Lion Stalking the Elk?

Camougfaged mountain lion stalking deer
The elk is in imminent danger, but can you spot the predator that lurks in this photo?

A trail camera set up by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service captured a mountain lion stalking an elk — but the predator is fiendishly difficult to spot.

The large deer can be forgiven for not knowing it was in imminent danger as scores of people online also struggled to spot the cougar — the answer is at the bottom of this article.

The images were captured a while back but have resurfaced and were posted to the popular Nature Is Metal Instagram page.

The image was captured at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. One of the dedicated volunteers initially missed the camouflaged cat but saw a later photo of it out in the open and then took a second look at the first photo.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shared the other photos that were taken over the course of two minutes, some of which show the mountain lion more clearly.

Camougfaged mountain lion stalking deer
The elk enters the trail camera’s view. The mountain lion is not in this shot but not far behind.
Camougfaged mountain lion stalking deer
The elk stops to graze. At this point, the deer is obscuring the trail camera’s view of the mountain lion.
Camougfaged mountain lion stalking deer
This is the main photo, have you spotted the predator yet?
Camougfaged mountain lion stalking deer
The elk has moved out of the frame and the mountain lion is still roughly in its spot.
Camougfaged mountain lion stalking deer
The mountain lion continues to stalk the elk but now it’s much closer to the trail camera.

“Start looking at the base of the tree that is at the far right of the picture. Move a little left and down. The puma is hidden in the grass,” writes the Rio Mora Refuge on Facebook.


If you still haven’t got it then do not worry as you are one of the thousands who struggled to spot the mountain lion. After all, it’s coat is the same color as the background.

Answer to the camougfaged mountain lion stalking deer
Circled in red.
Answer to the camouflaged mountain lion stalking deer
A close crop of the mountain lion’s hiding spot.

The fate of the elk and the mountain lion remains a mystery as the pair moved out of the camera’s field of view. But the stealthy cats do prey on elk, hiding until they are ready to strike.

If you enjoy looking for camouflaged big cats then see if you can spot the leopard in this photo.

Image credits: Images courtesy of the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service