Mountain Lion cowering in a Santa Monica shopping mall.
This young male cougar was found at 6 AM in a shopping mall in downtown Santa Monica by a groundskeeper showing up for work. He left work quickly (probably very quickly!) and called police. A team arrived and tried various methods of subduing the animal, including tranquilization, all of which failed. The animal was then shot to death.
It is not known how the cougar made its way to downtown Santa Monica, but the Santa Monica Mountains are only 2 miles away from this location. Researchers are tracking 22 mountain lions that live in the Santa Monica Mountains.
I have been to these mountains before, and they are not all that wild. If I’m not mistaken, the Hollywood Hills are part of this range.
Most mountain lions that show up in cities are young males for whatever reason. But young male lions do tend to be wanderers and dispersers more as they often have not carved out their own home range yet.
The danger of this animals is much exaggerated, but I would not want to be near one of them. I’ve spent most of my life hiking in the wilds, mostly in California but also in Utah, Washington State and British Columbia. Recently, I always carry a large stick with me wherever I go in the mountains. This stick is to be used if I ever run into a mountain lion or maybe even a bear. In all my time hiking in the woods, I’ve never seen a single bear either.
My mother recently saw what I believe was a mountain lion in Oakhurst, California. She was up north of town early in the morning picking up a friend of hers and something ran across the road very fast, so fast it was very hard to figure out exactly what it was. My Mom was puzzled and asked me what it could have been. She said it was as “big as a German shepherd” but it had a huge tail that went all the way back up over its head from the rear.
I figured it had to be a lion because there is nothing that big and that fast in the woods. In addition, lions often carry their tails back up over their bodies like that when they run.
It went across the road fast as a streak and then simply “disappeared” into some very thick brush and woods.
I’m familiar with this location as I saw a bobcat running across the road at dusk there once. These creatures are also extremely fast when you see them running across the road, and the way they run, you think it is a rabbit. I remember once my Mom called me up on the phone at 9:30 PM at nite in Oakhurst and asked me, “Bob, do rabbits eat cat food?” She said a “rabbit” had come up on the porch and was eating cat food. She went out to pick up the food and the thing ran away fast as a streak.
I had seen bobcats running fast before, and I thought it was a rabbit. This is apparently due to the way they use their legs in running in which one set of legs seems to overlap with the other set. I.e. the front legs seem to go all the way to the back and the back legs seem to go all the way to the front.
I figured it was a mountain lion because they were almost no rabbits in that area, rabbits don’t eat cat food, jackrabbits are typically not out at nighttime, and rabbits don’t run as fast bobcats. With a running rabbit, you will see it run away. With a bobcat, it’s just a flash. It’s interesting that bobcats will eat cat food!
At the same house, my Mom’s neighbor had ducks and geese in a pen. The neighbor woke up one morning at the crack of dawn and all of the geese and ducks were dead and a bobcat was fast asleep in the pen. The bobcat had come in the night and had gone on a killing frenzy on all of the penned up birds. He never intended to eat all of those birds. Predators will sometimes go on a killing frenzy if they are with a lot of easy targets.
The bobcat woke up quickly and was gone in a streak.