So, this is exciting…

by Jennifer on May 23, 2008

Posted in my neighborhood:

That’s it? How does that call go if, let’s just say, I’m walking down the street to get the mail without my cell phone?

See, I was thinking maybe our HOA should offer a few practical, life-saving strategies for what to do right then. A few significant strategies, like:

  • Make yourself appear larger
  • Maintain eye contact with lion
  • Don’t turn your back
  • Keep children close
  • Bare your teeth and growl like you do at home to freak out your kids
  • Make loud noises

Maybe a sign like this would be helpful:

Instead of, “Well, if you happen to see one, give us a ring.” Because, what? Someone’s going to just sit on that information? In a subdivision?

“Ooh, pretty cat. Hey Mabel, write that one down in our wildlife journal!” (I don’t know why she’s called Mabel.)

Do they assume that sightings will occur from the safety of a resident’s car or house, even the yard? Near a phone? I suppose a lot of people carry cell phones, but maybe not when they’re biking or jogging or walking the dog. And what about the kids out riding their bikes? (Some people do have phones attached to their heads, but they kind of freak me out, the way they look like they’re talking to themselves. I’d as soon cross the street to avoid one of them as I would a mountain lion.)

And another thing…The flyer (I can’t call it a sign) is tacked up on the message board next to the mailboxes, behind glass, and it’s printed on 8 1/2 X 11 paper. I’m guessing not that many people will notice the sign. I only looked for it because a friend told me about the sightings.

News like this seems poster-worthy to me. Or, something in my mailbox might have been nice, something I’d be sure to see.

Something that would make me think, Hmm, maybe I should keep the young ‘uns inside, tasty little lion morsels that they are.

Starting today, I won’t leave the dog out for longer than he needs to be because I have other plans for him. I’ll start taking the recycling out for Boy for a while, but he’d better not get used to it. I’ll sit outside with the kids if they’re playing in the backyard, like that ever happens. I’ll keep an eye out.

And to be fair, this isn’t the first time there have been mountain lion sightings in our development. Anyone who lives here should already know that we’re living in the mountain lion’s backyard, not the other way around. I don’t suppose they go putting up signs. (Human sighting! Call the hotline!) We’re on their turf. But for some reason, there have been more lion sightings than usual these last few weeks (wonder what the normal human/mountain lion ratio is?), and it’s worth noting and worth it to urge some caution.

I only wish the HOA had shared more information, like how many sightings and where? How many lions? Were there cubs? What time of day/night did the sightings take place?

As a public service, I’m going to post this link that explains what to do if you encounter a mountain lion.

It’s the least I can do.

Wait, no it’s not. Hell, I could just put up a flyer.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn May 24, 2008 at 12:20 am

Eeeek. Funny and scary at the same time. We have black bears in our area. Last summer there was a huge black bear casually sauntering down the middle of our road while my mom, Csilla and I were outside gardening. It took me a second to process what I was seeing. My brain went something like this… “Oh look. There’s a bear in the street. Isn’t that interesting. Tick. Tick. Tick. Holy shit! There’s a giant black bear in the street! Let’s get the hell out of here!”

Crazy. As if giant black bears walk down our street all the time. At least the signage is better in our area. I’ll have to take a pic when the go up again. They’re large with lots of good information and posted all over the place. Oh. And we have coyotes too. They’re around all the time. Csilla saw one just the other day and got all excited. We had to remind her about fifty times that it wasn’t “cute”, but very dangerous. Yikes.

Carolyns last blog post..i’m almost famous.

D / Momma May 24, 2008 at 1:55 am

I think we often forget that it is we who encroached on nature, not the other way around. Incidentally, I agree with you that something should have gone into every mailbox, particularly because you need to know that there is an imminent danger to your kids/pets. We have deer, foxes, raccoons, herons, geese, and ducks in our immediate neighborhood. Nothing too exciting.

I’ve even encountered raccoons scurrying into the garbage cans out front of fine restaurants in Bethesda (I suppose they were raccoons who lunch”). Really, I think that some people are stunned when they see actual wildlife. They act like, “How dare those creatures come around! Don’t they know that people live here?” Yes, but they are still foraging for food wherever they can get it. There isn’t a lot of wild land left.

Maybe you should lobby the HOA to put out signs such as the one you showed in your post, along with some attention-getting posters. And maybe they’ll actually listen to you?

Peace – D

D / Mommas last blog post..Foresight

liv May 24, 2008 at 4:38 am

oh, honey, i’m sorry… i think when madge and i alerted the state police that she and i were visiting you they mistakenly jumped to the conclusion that a couple of cougars were coming to town. hence the notification. hence the scare.

livs last blog post..

Brenda May 24, 2008 at 5:02 am

Yes, you need better signs. Especially the signs that tell WHERE. You know me, I’d be out with the kids (NOT the dog), trying to catch a glimpse! Maybe even hopefully get a good picture!

Mrs. Chili May 24, 2008 at 5:02 am

See? Here’s another thing that I, living in New England, will never have to deal with. I mean, it’s not as though we don’t have wildlife – we do. I regularly sight deer and raccoons and woodchucks and, occasionally, fisher cats (which aren’t cats at all but are more like weasels) in my yard, but we don’t have any big cats to worry about. Though, come to think of it, there IS a bear (probably more than one, really) in the next town over. So, never mind…. I’m rambling.

Mrs. Chilis last blog post..FFFriday!

Madge May 24, 2008 at 5:28 am

OK, first of all — I don’t think I could actually look larger than i currently do!

and secondly — at least she’s named mabel and not madge….

Ducky May 24, 2008 at 5:53 am

We’ve had them too! I don’t watch the news, but a local botanist wrote a letter to the editor in this week’s paper with stories of several recent sightings IN MY AREA.

slouching mom May 24, 2008 at 6:22 am

Cool! Uh, I mean, not so much, if I were you. Cool from afar, though.

slouching moms last blog post..Bothered, Bewildered, and Blocked [UPDATED]

Dave May 24, 2008 at 7:17 am

A cougar was shot on the north side of Chicago recently. They matched its DNA to blood spot found in Wisconsin and they suspect it roamed here all the way from South Dakota.

suburbancorrespondent May 24, 2008 at 7:46 am

I know those are all sensible instructions on what to do around mountain lions, but truly? If I saw one? The only thing I would be able to think would be “Run like hell!”

suburbancorrespondents last blog post..We Been Jammin’

McSwain May 24, 2008 at 7:49 am

We live in the middle of the burbs, but right on very large a riverbed that’s dry most of the year and full of trees and brush. So we get mountain lions and bobcats. Coyotes are so ubiquitous that we don’t even think about it. When there’s a mountain lion or bobcat lurking about, there are usually little 8 1/2 x 11 “what to do if you see one” signs posted around. And there is usually more than a phone number on them. Wow.

McSwains last blog post..

Jenn @ Juggling Life May 24, 2008 at 10:27 am

There’s been one roaming the parking lot of the college campus where I go to school–they did text message us AND provide us with all the pertinent info as to what to do if we saw one. Which was good, because when I just saw the flyers that said “Cougar sighting” I thought it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek as our mascot is a cougar.

I definitely think you need more specific information about the where and when.

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..

anymommy May 24, 2008 at 11:30 am

Gotta love government, they try. Have you heard a mountain lion scream yet? Creepy.

I linked from allmediocre – fun to have found you!

anymommys last blog post..Judging Mommy

Amanda Regan May 24, 2008 at 11:44 am

I can’t imagine living somewhere where seeing animals like that is possible. I live in a very rural, tiny village in England (UK) and we have nothing like that here. A cat or a puppy, even cows and sheep but something that would kill?, no. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night or step out my door for that matter.

Amanda Regans last blog post..Personality.

tysdaddy May 24, 2008 at 11:49 am

We get stray dogs, and the occasional skunk, but no mountail lions. Thanks the good Lord. I’d shit. Right before he ate me.

tysdaddys last blog post..Role Play

Daryl May 24, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Scary and stupid .. if there are bears roaming the wilds of New Jersey towns the local TV news makes a big deal out of it .. here in NYC the only predators we have to fear are the two legged ones ..

Daryls last blog post..the great window box plantathon

Mrs. G. May 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Hello, 911?!!!! AGGGHHH!!!


Mrs. G.s last blog post..Finally, Boy G. Speaks

Lisa May 24, 2008 at 2:30 pm

I bet Ohio is looking better and better 😉

Lisas last blog post..How to get your kids to hate fast food

Melody May 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Oh my! I saw those same tips and that sign in a tourist brochure I received in the mail from South Dakota. They’re off my vacation list, now!!

Oh, and you should always take your cell phone if you are walking or jogging, especially by yourself. I guess maybe when you check the mail, too – at least for now. Of course, I don’t own a cell phone, which is why I never jog…

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog – and for your comment! And thanks for visiting., too!

Melodys last blog post..Why is it so hard to think up titles for these things?

Sandy (Momisodes) May 24, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Ah geez, a flyer? Certainly a notice door to door or into mailboxes would have been more effective. I often feared mountain lions while living in San Diego. I’m not sure if could back away slowly if I saw one. Play dead by passing out? Yep, I think I could swing that.

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..Gotta Dance

Suzanne May 24, 2008 at 7:52 pm

This post would be absolutely hilarious if it weren’t also so serious!

When I lived at Lake Tahoe my neighbors were constantly reminding me not to let my little yorkies just run out side to go potty…but to put them on their leashes….one of the neighbors had actually had a dog taken and … one of these varmits.

Here in Florida, we just have to worry about the occasional possum, or alligator, or shark….depending on your venue.

Nature taking back their turf!

Suzannes last blog post..Gratitude Found in a Florida Thunderstorm

Jennifer Harvey May 24, 2008 at 8:47 pm

So we’ve covered lions and bears…tigers, anyone?

Oh my.

the mama bird diaries May 24, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Now Jennifer, this is EXACTLY why I live in New York City.

the mama bird diariess last blog post..the defector

Jennifer Harvey May 24, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Then I won’t mention the tarantula in the yard, assorted scorpions, and the rattlesnake at school one day. 😉

I have to go pack now.

Akelamalu May 25, 2008 at 4:04 am

Oooooer that’s scary! The scariest thing we have to contend with is the occasional fox!

Akelamalus last blog post..Saturday Wordzzle #14

Headless Mom May 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Here from AllMediocre…

We get those from time to time, although I haven’t seen one. Many of our neighbors have lost cats and dogs to the mountain lions and the coyotes. Yes, it’s best to do something loud and large, not simply call the hoa.

Headless Moms last blog post..The Best Laid Plans

Kellan May 25, 2008 at 7:14 pm

We get these sorts of alerts about coyotes when cats go missing. I don’t like the idea of either one in my neighborhood.

Hope you are having a good weekend – see you soon – Kellan

Kellans last blog post..Fun In The Texas Sun

andi May 26, 2008 at 9:37 am

AHHHH! I always dream about living in the mountains nearby, but then I remember that there are wild animals there. I don’t do well with wild animals.

andis last blog post..Ah, retirement

Just Jamie May 26, 2008 at 9:55 am

Thanks for the tips. I can never remember if I’m supposed to BIG, play dead, run in a zig-zag or what …

Angela May 26, 2008 at 11:48 am

And I am officially no longer jealous of where you live. Dude! Mountain Lions. The scariest thing I have are the freaking wood peckers that keep shitting all over my house and car!

Angelas last blog post..Preaching to the Choir

Meg May 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Yikes, Mountain Lions you say???? Not fun….I grew up with them though, they can get pretty brave. One time I had one come up to our screen porch and I mistook it for our family dog! Scary!

Megs last blog post..The Men In My Life Through The Years…

HRH May 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm

You might be careful what you wish for. Our HOA has an email system that is over used in situations like this. It starts with someone mentioning a siting (and often including pictures they took) followed by 100s of freaked out emails back and forth exploring all aspects of whatever to the point of craziness. Whenever it happens, I just want to move…

PS–be careful!

HRHs last blog post..Potluck: holiday style (I have no idea what that means)…

Nap Warden May 26, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Oh my…now that I know what to do if I encounter a mountain lion…I hope neither one of us actually does:P

Nap Wardens last blog post..Finally, a Day at the Beach

JCK May 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Good point on the human invasion of their territory, but perhaps not so reassuring when encountering a mountain lion without a cell phone. Of course, they do say screaming is good…

JCKs last blog post..Collecting clouds and the Witsy, Witsy Spider

Manic Mommy May 27, 2008 at 4:59 am

Well…they did put it on pink paper. Nothing displays a sense of urgency like fuscia.

Yeah, watch out with the pets and young ‘uns. My dog would just be an appetizer.

Manic Mommys last blog post..Greetings from Afghanistan

shay May 31, 2008 at 12:29 am

Those thing freak me out…seriously! I’ve only ever seen them at the zoo and they seriously look like they’re eyeing you up for how hard you’d be to take down.

I’m not sure I’d have the presence of mind to run back to the pink sign, dial the unfamiliar number correctly and actually wait for someone to pick up on the other end….I’m sure they’d have my pined to the ground way before that!

shays last blog post..Creative and all that jazz…

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