Mountain Lion Sightings

March 15, 2010

There have been a number of mountain lion sightings in Woodside recently, The latest report came early this morning, (March 15th), when a mountain lion was seen in the vicinity of 50 Roan Place. This is the third time in 10 days that a mountain lion had been seen in the same area.

As a reminder, mountain lions are most active at dawn, dusk, and at night. Usually, mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. However, if you see a mountain lion DO NOT APPROACH IT and DO NOT RUN. Running arouses a mountain lions natural instinct to chase. Do not squat or bend over since it makes you appear as prey. You are advised to face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects.

There are an estimated 30,000 mountain lions in the western U.S. The mountain lion (Puma concolor) is also known as the cougar, puma, panther, and catamount. It is the largest wild cat in North America. Its fur is beige in color and it has a white belly. Young mountain lions have spots, but adults do not. They eat deer and mice, squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits. Mountain lions are active hunters and may travel long distances in search of food. They hunt alone and attack from behind, breaking the neck of their prey by biting it at the base of the skull. After killing their prey, they will bury it and leave it, coming back to feed on it when hungry.

If you are attacked, you are advised to fight back. Mountain lions will usually strike the back of the head and especially the neck so be vigiliant to protect these areas and if at all possible remain standing or face to face with the animal once it is attacking. Hit as hard as possible especially to the head area. Sticks or large rocks can be used as a weapon. Go for the eyes. If you are attacked from the back try to reposition yourself to meet the cat face to face.

The Department of Fish and Game advises that you for your household’s protection do not feed wildlife because you may attract a mountain lion, deer proof your landscape; remove dense and/or low-lying vegetation that would provide good hiding places for mountain lions, especially around children’s play areas; install outdoor lighting and keep the house perimeter well lit at night. It is important to secure pets and livestock. Most important keep small children in at dusk and make sure they know how to react if they see a mountain lion.

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