More than half of California is mountain lion habitat. Mountain lions generally exist wherever deer are found. They are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans. Mountain lions prefer deer but, if allowed, they also eat pets and livestock. In extremely rare cases, even people have fallen prey to mountain lions. Mountain lions that threaten people are immediately killed. Those that prey on pets or livestock can be killed by a property owner after the required depredation permit is secured. Moving problem mountain lions is not an option. It causes deadly conflicts with other mountain lions already there, or the relocated mountain lion returns.
Living in Mountain Lion Country
- Don't feed deer; it is illegal in California and it will attract mountain lions.
- Deer-proof your landscaping by avoiding plants that deer like to eat.
- Trim brush to reduce hiding places for mountain lions.
- Don't leave small children or pets outside unattended
- Provide sturdy covered shelters for sheep goats, and other vulnerable animals.
- Don't allow pets outside when mountain lions are most active-dawn, dusk, and at night.
- Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential mountain lion prey.
Staying Safe in Mountain Lion Country
Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive and typically avoid people. Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, conflicts are increasing as California's human population expands into mountain lion habitat.
- Do not hike, bike, or jog alone.
- Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active-dawn, dusk and at night.
- Keep a close watch on small children.
- Do not approach a mountain lion.
- If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.
- If attacked, fight back.
- If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.
Source: Santa Clara County Vector Control District
Photo Credit: US Forest Service