A resident of Arnold has reported seeing a large mountain lion pass through their property on Laurel Circle in the Lilac Park neighborhood around 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
While mountain lions tend to avoid people, they will prey on pets and can pose a danger to humans.
The U.S. National Park Service provides the following safety tips for cougar encounters:
1. When it comes to personal safety, always be aware of your surroundings, wherever you are; conduct yourself and attend to children and dependents accordingly.
2. If you encounter a cougar, make yourself appear larger, more aggressive. Open your jacket, raise your arms, and throw stones, branches, etc., without turning away. Wave raised arms slowly, and speak slowly, firmly, loudly to disrupt and discourage predatory behavior.
3. Never run past or from a cougar. This may trigger their instinct to chase. Make eye contact. Stand your ground. Pick up small children without, if possible, turning away or bending over.
4. Never bend over or crouch down. Doing so causes humans to resemble four-legged prey animals. Crouching down or bending over also makes the neck and back of the head vulnerable.
5. Try to remain standing to protect your head and neck and, if attacked, fight back with whatever is at hand (without turning your back)—people have utilized rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches and even bare hands to turn away cougars.
6. Don’t approach a cougar. Most cougars want to avoid humans. Give a cougar the time and space to steer clear of you.
7. Supervise children, especially outdoors between dusk and dawn. Educate them about cougars and other wildlife they might encounter.
8. Always hike, backpack and camp in wild areas with a companion.
9. Don’t feed wildlife. Don’t leave food outside. Both may attract cougars by attracting their natural prey.
10. Keep pets secure. Roaming pets are easy prey for cougars.