AUSTIN — Despite the rarity of mountain lion sightings near urban areas, a recent mountain lion sighting on private property in Rowlett has been verified by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists. Biologists suspect that this mountain lion is most likely a transient juvenile male that is just passing through the area as it searches for a home range.
Biologists say that another sighting of this mountain lion is highly unlikely as these animals are naturally secretive and elusive, have extremely large home ranges and travel many miles during a week. This mountain lion will likely move on and never be seen again.
While mountain lion’s food sources do include deer, biologists note that there is not a large deer population in the area where this lion was spotted. However, feral hogs do occupy the area and are also a food source for mountain lions.
In response to a reported mountain lion, the first thing wildlife biologists or game wardens do is interview the person that reported the sighting and gather further information. Depending on the nature of the report, biologists or wardens may go to the site, look for evidence such as tracks, scat or other signs to try and confirm the sighting. The person who reported the sighting can then discuss any concerns they may have with wildlife experts who can then provide guidance on how to co-exist with mountain lions, how to protect pets or livestock and what to do if confronted.
Mountain lions are a component of the natural landscape in many parts of Texas and unless they are in what biologists would consider a “no-tolerance zone” such as near a school, or if the lion has exhibited threatening behavior, then no action is taken. TPWD does not remove mountain lions or other native wildlife species from a property simply because people do not want the animal there.
Seeing a mountain lion in the wild is an extremely uncommon occurrence as mountain lions are crepuscular and primarily hunt at night. A mountain lion attack on people or pets is highly unlikely, however, TPWD biologists suggest that residents keep their pets indoors at night, don’t leave out pet food and secure their trash.
If a person encounters or sees a mountain lion, it’s important that they do not run away from the animal but instead throw rocks and make loud noises in an effort to appear big and intimidating to the lion.