I still haven’t seen the puma. It is beginning to feel pantomime-esque. It is behind me, surely? Fitz has not seen it either, and he’s been living here since the 1970s. His theory is that the puma gives him a wide berth because he has a jaguar spirit watching over him, or he is a jaguar spirit, or something like that, a ‘fact’ that was revealed to him as he ran naked and painted blue, through the forests of Peru, having ingested plenty of ayahuasca in the company of a shaman. For a successful, cynical, sceptical, in some ways normal person, he is touchingly open to mystical baloney. Anyway, the basic thinking is that because in the game of rock paper scissors , jaguar beats puma, the puma beats a respectful retreat when it hears him coming. I m not sure where that leaves me, unless I too have a jaguar spirit, which he says I will never know unless I go to Peru take ayahuasca and run naked and blue through the forests at night, which is not something I can see myself doing anytime soon.
However, walking near the plantain at the back of the beach today, I bumped into what looked like a super-sized weasel, dark, dark brown with hint of grey, and with long fat legs, a long fat tail, and the face of a cross cat. It was chewing with its mouth open (although on reflection, it may have been baring its teeth), and looked at me for several minutes as waves broke on the shore, and I considered whether or not to reach for my camera (I did not). It then slunk off in no particular hurry.
Back at the house I created a detailed artist’s impression on my phone (pictured), and, opening Mammals of Costa Rica at the jaguarundi page, spotted him immediately. The fact jaguarundis are supposedly common, detracted only slightly from the encounter. Incidentally, they also come in russet and pale tan, and a female can give birth to litter that includes cubs of each colour, much like a cat.