People who live on the west side of Colorado Springs are on the lookout for a mountain lion. Wildlife officials have posted signs in the Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood with instructions on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion.
It's been a couple of weeks since the sighting, but people in this area are still worried that the animal is nearby. Experts estimate about 4,000 of the stealthy creatures live in Colorado. But mountain lions are rarely seen, so when one is spotted, it can be alarming.
"It does cause some anxieties. I don't have small kids, but I do have pets. We make sure we lock them in at night," says resident Stacy Kruckeberg. A mountain lion was spotted in her neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. And that surprised her. "We never had bear and mountain lion. We had lots of deer and raccoon."
Michael Seraphin with the Colorado Division of Wildlife says, it's not uncommon to see the big cats on the city's west side. "The mountain lions have historically been there--- following primarily deer as their source of prey."
Seraphin says it's best to know what to do if you see a mountain lion. "The first thing you wanna do is try to make yourself look large---to raise your arms up over your head."
And while mountain lions most often prey on pets, small children are at risk too. "Pick your children up, pick them up off the ground and hold them near you. Don't let them run towards the animal in that case the animal will instinctively fight back," says Seraphin.
Here are the expert's tips on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion:
Seraphin says mountain lions usually sleep all day and hunt at night. So the riskiest times for humans are dawn and dusk.
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The Mountain Lion
- Mountain Lion (Felis Concolor) also know as the Cougar, Panther or Puma
- Body Length: 3-4 ft.
- Tail: 2-3 ft.
- Weight: 70 - 170 lbs.
- Carnivore that preys on a variety of animals (deer, hogs, rabbits, rodents, and livestock)
- They live solitary lives, except during breeding
- Females usually breed every two to three years
- The mountain lion has the widest distribution of any wild cat, from Canada to South America
- Always keep children in arms reach, while hiking because mountain lions seem to be drawn to children
Reduce Chances of an Attack
- Stay calm and face the lion
- Try to appear larger by raising your hands
- If the lion acts aggressively, throw rocks, branches, or whatever can be obtained without turning your back or bending over
- If attacked, since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal
Source: National Parks and Wildlife contributed to this report