by Larry Hotz, All Denver Real Estate
The Colorado Division of Wildlife was recently called to a home on the southern edge of Highlands Ranch. The family had discovered 5 inch pawprints apparently from a mountain lion just behind their home. This isn’t the first time evidence of a big cat was found near Denver.
Often, I am asked by people moving into the Denver area whether or not the wildlife here is all dangerous.
The simple answer is no. Still, mountain lions to do occasionally show up in the suburbs. The Wildlife Division concluded that this particular paw-prints was not fresh and that a mountain lion was likely not still in the area. Mountain lions roam within range of approximately 350 miles. So it’s not often one is fixed around long enough to be caught or photographed.
But occasionally, mountain lions are discovered in the suburbs and have to be tranquilized and relocated. That happened near my office in Greenwood Village about 10 years ago. There was quite a commotion as police, firemen and officials from the Colorado division of wildlife gathered around an open field less than 200 yards to my office building. By the time I got there the cat was tranquilized and they were making arrangements to have it relocated back into the wild.
On another occasion, two young boys were walking down the south suburban trail through Cherry Hills Village when they stumbled upon a large cat asking in the sun in the middle of the path. He slowly backed up and escaped without the cat even waking up. Authorities were summoned. But by the time they arrived the cat was gone. With turf of 350 mi.² it had to move along.
So how dangerous are these huge cats? There have been less than 12 fatalities reported in the entire United States during the last 100 years. And a couple of those were attacks which resulted in rabies in 1909. So the modern-day threat from mountain lions are slim.
There are some common sense rules when hiking even if it’s just through our fabulous South suburban trail system. It’s always best to walk in a group. If you should come across a mountain lion the main thing is to stay calm and move slowly. Don’t scream. Instead you may talk to the cat in a firm, deep voice. Back away slowly if the cat is lying down until you are out of sight. If the cat makes any threatening gestures, do what you can to look as big as you can. Raising your arms helps. If you have a young child it’s best to put the child on your shoulders to look bigger.
Attacks are extremely rare. There hasn’t been one of the human being in the Denver metro area in my memory. Still if a cat attacks its best to fight back. Throwing rocks using your walking stick anything at all can scare the cat away. These tips come from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
I tell all my relocation buyers who consider buying a home on open space that can be dangerous. Not to people. But to animals. Make sure your very small children and pets are not out in the backyard after dark. The real danger is not from mountain lions. It’s from coyotes. You might want to see my article about coyotes which I wrote last summer.
Part of the charm of living in Colorado is being closer to nature. But almost always we travel up into the mountains if we want to experience animals roaming wild. If you have encountered an animal in Denver at the suburbs, feel free to leave a comment below would like to hear about it.