Mountain Lion Seen Feasting on Pet Chicken at Family Home In California

Police officers were called to a backyard in California during the early hours of Sunday, spotting a mountain lion feasting on a chicken.

A press release from the Pacifica Police Department said that officers arrived at the home on Valencia Way at around 7:30 a.m. after an adult mountain lion was seen by a resident taking a chicken from a coop in their backyard. The caller said that the animal had retreated to the hillside behind the house.

The police officers found the mountain lion around 30 yards behind the home gorging on the chicken. They determined that the mountain lion did not pose a threat to human life, but advised immediate neighbors to stay out of their backyards and bring any pets indoors.

The Department of Wildlife Management advised that due to the lack of threat of human life, the attending officers should simply monitor the mountain lion until it left the area, which it did at around 9:44 a.m. The officers then left the scene

In a Facebook post on December 26, the Pacifica Police Department offered city residents advice on dealing with potentially dangerous wildlife like mountain lions.

It wrote: "It's important to remember that many areas of our city are bordered by parks and open space that are home to all kinds of wildlife including mountain lions and coyotes.

"It is important that we familiarize ourselves with information and safety tips about living in mountain lion country."

The Pacifica police added that mountain lions, also known as cougars, are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people, with attacks on humans being rare.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, there have been just 20 verified mountain lion attacks on humans since 1986. It adds that of these, only three proved fatal.

The Pacifica police added that to help limit the risk of mountain lion attacks, residents of the city should avoid cycling or jogging alone, and should avoid jogging at dawn, dusk, and night, times when the animals are most active.

They added that parents in the city should keep a watch on small children. All the verified mountain lion attacks recorded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife since 2014 have involved children under the age of 7.

The youngest of these victims was a 3-year-old boy attacked by a mountain lion in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, Orange County, in January 2020. Reporting on the incident, the Los Angeles Times said that the boy had been grabbed by the neck by the cougar and dragged away from adults who stood just 10 feet away.

The boy's father was able to ward off the animal and rescue the boy by confronting it and throwing a backpack at it, which the cougar dragged up a tree.

The Pacifica police have advised that if residents do encounter a mountain lion they should not approach it. They added that if the animal is close, residents should not run but face the animal and attempt to look bigger by raising and waving their arms.

This should be accompanied by shouting and other loud noises and the throwing of rocks and other objects. Residents who are accompanied by a child should pick them up and hold them.

In the eventuality that a person is attacked by a mountain lion, they should fight back.

The Pacifica Police Department concluded by saying that aggressive mountain lions should be reported to the police department at (650) 738-7314 or to the regional offices of the Department of Fish & Wildlife at (707) 428-2002.

Mountain Lion Growls
A stock image of a growling mountain lion. Pacifica police were called to a backyard after a mountain lion was caught eating a chicken. JohnPitcher/Getty