Mountain Lion Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Mountain Lion Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are there lions in Boulder?
A: The land surrounding
Food is found in the form of deer, small mammals, livestock and pets. Shelter includes not only the heavy vegetation throughout the city in yards and along irrigation ditches, but also human-made shelters such as the spaces underneath decks. There is an abundance of water in ponds, ditches, and backyard water features (fountains and ponds). Finally, space is available in backyards, parks, and in the ditches and creeks, which serve as ideal movement corridors for lions and other wildlife.
2. What do lions eat?
A: Lions are opportunistic, predatory carnivores and will prey on a variety of large and small mammals, both wild and domestic. In
To minimize conflicts between domestic animals and lions, livestock should be kept in secure, fully enclosed structures, especially near dawn, dusk, and throughout the nighttime hours. When allowed outdoors, pets should be closely supervised or kept in secure enclosures (with a roof) at all times.
3. What is a cache and what does it look like?
A: A cache is the carcass of something that a lion has killed. When a lion is finished feeding, it will partially cover, or “cache” the kill by scraping the ground substrate (pine needles, twigs, leaves or dirt) over the carcass. The lion may leave the area until the next feeding, or may guard the cache and stay very close to it.
If you see a carcass that looks like it may have been cached, stay away and call the Boulder Police non-emergency number at 303-441-3333 (anytime) or the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) at 303-291-7227 (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.).
4. Why can't the CPW take all lions out of town and keep them out?
A: There is no feasible way to keep lions out of
5. What does the CPW do about lions in town?
If a lion is located, a
6. Is the CPW waiting until someone is injured or killed before doing something about the lions?
7. What are the risks to humans from lions?
While the risk of a lion attack is low, there is still a risk associated with living or recreating in or near lion habitat.
8. What can I do to keep myself/my kids safe? Can my kids play outside and walk to school unsupervised?
A: The CPW recommends that children be supervised when outside in lion, bear and coyote habitat. Teach your children to be aware of wildlife and what to do if they encounter wildlife.
Each individual, pet owner, and parent must evaluate the risk for themselves and make the decisions they find to be most appropriate.
9. What can I do to keep my pets safe?
A: The CPW recommends that you always supervise your pets when they are outside. Most pets are attacked near dusk, during the night, and near dawn (see Question 14). Therefore, if your dog needs to go outside during these hours put it on a leash and go out with it— carry a flashlight, talk in a loud voice, and carefully look around your backyard before you go out. If you must leave your pet unattended outside, build a fully enclosed kennel (including a roof or sturdy fencing on top).
10. How can I discourage lions from coming onto or near my property?
A: The first attractant is food. Mule deer make up a large proportion of a lion’s diet. By planting vegetation that deer do not like to eat or by using landscaping products meant to exclude deer you can remove a primary attractant.
By securing your garbage properly and blocking off access to places animals might choose to den, you will also exclude species that make up the rest of a lion’s diet. The next attractant is water. Water features in a backyard are huge attractants for a variety of wildlife including lions. If you don’t want lions in your backyard then you should not have water features.
You should eliminate any places in your yard that serve as good hiding places. Lions are ambush predators and stalk prey from cover. Low-lying, large bushes and shrubs, spaces under decks, or any place that wildlife can rest comfortably without being seen should be removed or blocked off. Installing outside lighting can help you see a lion if it is on your property, and may make it less inviting.
11. Are there more lions in town now than in the past? Some long-time residents believe so...
A: The CPW does not have data to definitively answer this question. Because so many factors affect the behavior and movement of wildlife and people’s perception of it, it is difficult to do any more than speculate as to why reported, perceived, or actual lion activity in
12. Will I encounter lions east of Broadway?
A: Lions occasionally travel east of Broadway, though sightings on the west side of
13. Are the lions that are moving and hunting near homes and people in the city becoming so habituated to people that they pose an elevated risk? If a lion is brazen enough to kill a pet in a backyard, isn’t its next logical prey a human?
A: Numbers have shown that throughout their range, lions choose to prey on deer and other four-legged animals and, despite ample opportunity, not on humans.
The Cougar Management Guidelines Working Group stated in 2005 that there was no scientific evidence to indicate that habituation to humans affects the risk of attack. So while mountain lions may be more visible in the city and pets are certainly at an elevated risk, there is nothing to suggest that this habituation increases the existing risk to people from mountain lions.
14. When are lions most active? Is it unusual to see a lion in the middle of the day?
A: Lions are most active near dusk, dawn, and anytime throughout the night. This is when they are typically moving and hunting for prey and this is when the majority of sightings, encounters and conflicts, such pet attacks, occur. Lions can be active at any time of day or night, however, and it is not unusual for lions to be spotted during daylight hours.
15. What does it mean if a lion has ear tags and/or a collar? Are you tracking them?
A: Ear tags are placed on wildlife that hasbeen previously captured for any reason. Lions may also have ear tags because they were, or are currently, part of a mountain lion research study. The ear tag colors depend on the circumstance of capture, but typically in this region of the state, lions will have green ear tags.
The CPW is currently conducting a Front Range Mountain Lion Research Study. Lions that have been captured and put into the study will have ear tags, as well as a collar with
16. If the CPW wants to capture a lion, what methods are used?
A: When a sighting is reported, the lion typically leaves the area on its own without incident and is, therefore, unable to be located. If a lion has a cache that can be located, (see Question 3), a live box trap may be set using the cache as bait. If a lion is free-roaming in the City of
17. Who should I call when I see a lion?
A: For general mountain lion information, including recommended precautions for living in mountain lion country, call the:
To report sightings within the City of
To report encounters, a stationary lion, or pet attacks within the City of
Call 911 in the event of an immediate human safety issue, or if a human is injured by any wildlife.
18. When should I call about a lion?
A: You can call anytime to report sightings, tracks, or to request information about lions and other wildlife. The City of
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 10:38