Unless it’s Garfield, an 80-pound cat is probably not something you’d want to find wandering across your property.
But when you live in Arizona, it happens.
Last week, Tony Bonifasi posted this video to our AZ Family Facebook page of a mountain lion caught on a security camera Saturday, October 14, just outside of Flagstaff.
They aren’t just in the high country. Mountain lions can be found throughout Arizona. According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, they are most common in rocky and mountainous terrain, but thanks to urban sprawl, the mountain lion habitat is shrinking, and that means some will occasionally be spotted in communities where people live, work and play.
After I shared the video to my own Facebook page, follower Brandon Lamb commented “During the Rodeo–Chediski Fire in 2002 we had a mountain lion in our backyard way down here in central/downtown Mesa (Mesa Dr & University) area. We were out BBQing chicken, and he came walking through our yard. At the time we thought it was our golden retriever; had to be a good 50-60lbs. The scary thing is my sister and myself were out back all day in the pool right by the tree it came out of (I was 19 she was 16).”
ARE MOUNTAIN LIONS DANGEROUS?
The short answer: Yes. According to AZGFD, mountain lions are large predators that can seriously injure or kill people. They are very territorial, and will also prey on pets and livestock.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SEE ONE?
AZGFD advises not to approach a mountain lion. Most will try to avoid human confrontation. Give them a way to safely escape. Do not run from a mountain lion, because they may want to chase you. Stand, face the animal and make eye contact. Stay calm and speak loudly and firmly. Make yourself appear larger than you are by raising your arms, waving them slowly, opening your jacket, etc. Slowly back away from the area. Report mountain lion sightings to the Arizona Game and Fish Department immediately.
HOW DO I PREVENT MOUNTAIN LION VISITS?
Don’t leave your pet food open outside. The food can attract javelina and other mountain lion prey. AZGFD advises you to trim landscaping around your home, especially near children’s play areas. Remove dense and low-lying vegetation that provide hiding places for predators. Install outdoor lighting. Keep the house perimeter, doorways and walkways well lit at night.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to AZGFD, there are between 2500 and 3500 mountain lions living in Arizona. They weigh between 70 and 150 pounds. They can jump 20 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally in a single leap. Mountain lion tracks have four toes with three distinct lobes at the base of the pad, and make a very distinct M-shaped print.
Mountain lions primarily eat deer, but also javelina, bighorn sheep, elk and small mammals. A mountain lion can consume an entire deer in two nights. They typically stalk and ambush prey from high vantage points like trees or rock ledges.Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app
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