Bobcats & Mountain Lions
It is against the law to feed wild animals. A simple bag of garbage, bowl of pet food, or plate of leftovers can cause severe harm to wildlife. Pets, livestock, and even children are potential prey to a mountain lion. Although mountain lions prefer deer, they may turn to alternate food sources if they are available. Then they lose their natural fear of humans. That’s when conflicts occur.
The mountain lion, also known as the cougar, panther, or puma, is the most widely distributed cat in the Americas. It is unspotted and tawny in color with a buff color underneath. It has a small head and small, rounded, black-tipped ears. Its tail is also black-tipped. They are typically 7 to 8 feet long and weigh between 65 to 150 pounds.
Bobcats have reddish-brown coats and are typically striped and spotted with black, providing an excellent camouflage. They have “sideburns” and ear tufts that aid their keen hearing. Their average shoulder height is 20 to 24 inches and average length is between 25 to 42 inches. Males can weigh from 20 to 30 pounds. Females weigh 15 to 20 pounds.
While bobcats tend to feed on rabbits and hares, they will also eat small rodents and birds. Mountain lions are very powerful and normally prey upon large animals, such as deer, bighorn sheep, and elk.
At Home, Do
- Clear unnecessary brush and wood piles from your home to reduce hiding places
- Feed your pets indoors or pick up uneaten food as soon as your pet is finished
- Deer-proof your landscaping so you don’t attract mountain lions
- Put trash out on collection days at the latest opportunity
- Have adequate fencing (to keep your pets in and wildlife out)
- Install motion sensor lights
- Vaccinate your dog and cat for rabies
At Home, Don’t
- Leave your children, cats or small dogs unattended
- Make a pet out of your visitor
- Feed or otherwise encourage a lion’s dependency on humans
- Allow your pets to run loose
- Feed deer – you will attract mountain lions
- Put trash out long before the scheduled pickup
What To Do If You Encounter A Lion
- Be alert where recent mountain lion activity has been reported
- Watch for lion tracks
- Make plenty of noise to scare lions away
- If you see a mountain lion, don’t run; instead face the lion and try to appear as large as possible.
- If attacked, fight back
- Remain calm and call the appropriate agency if you are threatened