Living Among Dangerous Cats
A large bobcat walks behind a home in Forest Park last winter. (photo courtesy of Chip Coppola)
by Terri Wiebold
In Castle Pines North, natural open space provides peace and beauty. It also provides homes for a number of wild animals including bobcats, coyote, fox, deer, mountain lions, and bears.
In the past few years, CPN residents have reported mountain lion and other potentially dangerous animal encounters near homes. Here are some tips for keeping such encounters from becoming a tragedy.
Tips for Living in Lion Country:
If going outside during times mountain lions are most active – dusk to dawn – make a lot of noise.
Install outdoor lighting around sidewalks and other walkways.
Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Keep children inside after dusk.
Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen. Remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children’s play areas.
Do not feed any wildlife! Avoid planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat – predators follow prey.
Keep pets under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions.
Store all garbage cans securely.
What to do if a Lion is Encountered:
Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give it a chance to escape.
Stay calm. Talk calmly yet firmly to the lion. Move slowly.
Stop or back away slowly, if this can be done safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
Do everything possible to appear larger. Raise up arms or open a jacket. If small children are present, pick them up so they will not panic and run.
If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever is available without crouching down or turning around. Wave arms slowly and speak firmly.
Fight back if a lion attacks. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and bare hands successfully.
Who to Call?
Should an encounter or an attack occur with a lion or other dangerous animal occur, immediately contact the Division of Wildlife, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Colorado’s Northeast Region Service Center can be reached at 303-291-7227. After hours, contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. In a life threatening situation call 911, all other calls can be made to 303-660-7500. Also, for documentation purposes and so residents in the community may be alerted, please contact the Castle Pines North Safety Task Force at Contact by email .