All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mountain Lions near City

Dear  Marie:
I am moving into a home that borders the Cleveland National Forest and I have just learned that Mountain Lions may pass through the developed area.  One of the reasons I was attracted to this location was because of the semi-rural atmosphere.  But, I never expected to be sharing the land with Cougars!  What kind of danger am I getting myself and my family into?  Also, I have a Cocker Spaniel.  Will I be able to leave him outside?  I am really concerned. 


Dear Sandra,
The area you are moving to has quite an assortment of wildlife.  Though there are occasional mountain lions that pass through, you’ll probably never actually see one.  You should however,  plan on encountering coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes, skunks, opossums, raccoons, numerous birds of prey, and many other interesting animals.  As long as you are aware of these animals and follow simple, common sense safety precautions, you should never have any problems. 

I would strongly recommend that you keep your Cocker Spaniel indoors unless you are physically outside with him.  Though it is true that he would be easy prey for a Mountain Lion, the chances of one of these big cats coming through your yard are remote.  Nevertheless, smaller predators, such as coyotes, can easily scale residential fences and take small dogs as prey.  Please use extra caution with him and any other pet you have.  Never let him run loose on community trails or in parks, no matter how tempting this may be. 

Some general safety rules for you and your human family members are these:

·        Never leave small children unattended outside, even in a fenced yard.
·        Talk to older children about local wildlife.  Teach them to stay away from wild animals, even those that look somewhat docile.
·        When hiking, jogging, walking, or biking, have a buddy go along too.  If children are participating in these activities, never allow them to lag behind or get too far ahead.
·        Pay attention to your surroundings.  Walk in the center of paths rather than along the edges.  Listen for the sounds of rattlesnakes and other animals that may be resting under bushes and shrubs.  If you hear suspicious noises, go the other direction.
·        Do not feed wild animals or attempt to make them pets.
·        Stay away from baby animals.  Their parents are usually close by and can be very protective and aggressive if you attempt to handle their young.  
·        Keep your home landscaping from getting dense and providing shelter for wild animals.  

Again, it is very unlikely that you will have any interaction with Mountain Lions; but you will, no doubt, come in contact with an array of other wild animals.  You will have to take steps to avoid potential nuisances and dangers that stem from inhabiting the same area with these creatures.  Don’t consider this a problem.  You are very lucky to be able to enjoy the beauty of “The Wild.”  

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