Hey, Uncle Scar! Guess What?

. 4.15.2008

I'm pretty sure I saw one of these yesterday, slinking around in the field behind our house. From the window in my office, I have a great view of the land surrounding our neighborhood. I've seen this guy before, but only very briefly. Yesterday though, I was able to watch him run across the entire width of the field. It definitely was not a dog (it had the graceful movements of a cat) and it definitely wasn't a house cat (it was HUGE). Plus, we recently discovered two giant dooks in our backyard (again, not from a dog - they don't jump fences just to poo, and not a cat - unless it weighed 100 lbs). From the looks of it, I'd say it was a young mountain lion/cougar. I guess if I start hearing stories of neighborhood pets vanishing, I'll know. In the meantime, I'll watch for him from my window.

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion:

• Do not approach a lion, especially if it is feeding or with its young. Most lions will avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
• Stay calm and face the lion. Do not run because this may trigger the lion's instinct to attack. Instead, back away slowly.
• Try to appear larger by raising your hands or opening your jacket up over your head.
• Pick up small children so they don't panic and run. This will also make you appear larger. Avoid bending over or crouching. Do not turn your back toward the lion.
• If the lion acts aggressively, throw rocks, branches, or whatever can be obtained without turning your back or bending over.
• Fight back if attacked. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. People have successfully fought back with rocks, sticks, or bare hands.

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