A mountain lion was spotted roaming around the Kirkwood Powerhouse this past weekend. While mountain lions may look endearing, they can be dangerous. Please be cautious and aware of your surroundings when you are spending time in nature. Below are some safety tips from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding mountain lions.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Safety Tips:
- Do not hike alone. Make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A walking stick can be used to ward off a lion.
- Keep children close to you. Mountain lions seem especially drawn to children. Keep children in sight at all times.
- If you see a mountain lion, stop. Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack.
- Do not bend or crouch, do all you can to appear bigger. Back away slowly, but only if you can do so safely. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up so they won’t panic and run. Although it may seem awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the lion.
- Do not bend or crouch over; Do all you can to appear larger. A person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. Open your jacket, if you’re wearing one. Throw stones, branches, or anything you can grab without crouching down or turning your back. Raise your arms and wave them slowly. Speak firmly in a large voice.
- Do not approach a mountain lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Fight back if attacked. Try to stay on your feet if attacked you. Mountain lions have been driven off by prey that fights back. Hikers have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands. Since lions usually try to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.
How to Deter Mountain Lions:
- Store garbage in wildlife-proof containers or in your garage until pick-up.
- Bring pets in at night, and do not leave pet food outside.
- Don’t use bird feeders or, at a minimum, bring them inside at night.
- Pick up fallen fruit as soon as possible and cover compost piles.
- Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, etc.
- Do not feed deer and deer-proof your landscape.
- Remove water sources.