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Caught on video: Growling mountain lion in tree in North San Diego County neighborhood

Posted at 3:52 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 12:03:36-05

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - Two teenagers were stopped in their tracks when they looked into a tree and found a creature looking back at them along a Carlsbad street.

Two Fridays ago, around 10:30 a.m., a freshman college student did a double take while walking along Babilonia Street in the La Costa area. He called a friend, who drove right over. They made a quick recording.

"Omigod, look at him," one of the teens is heard whispering in the video.

Perched in a tree, about 25 feet up, was a mountain lion, growling.

The mother of one of the teens tells ABC 10News soon after they stopped recording, they looked up, and it was gone.

Lauren DuBois of Project Wildlife at the San Diego Humane Society, says it's hard to tell the big cat whether the mountain lion was a juvenile or an adult. She says it's not surprising it was in a tree.

"Not unusual at all. They will climb trees, and rest in trees quite often," said DuBois.

Dubois says it was likely relaxing after a long night.

"They can have up to 100 square miles of a territory. Most of time they are hunting from dusk to dawn, so a lot of the time, that’s where (tree) they will be resting," said DuBois.

The concern? Less than half a mile away, is La Costa Meadows Elementary School, which began in-person learning in October.
Neighbors tell us there have been sightings of a mountain lion in nearby Box Canyon for years. One of those neighbors did file a report of the most recent sighting with state Fish and Wildlife officials.

DuBois say this big cat wasn't being aggressive. What about the growl?

"Hey, I’m up here. Don’t want you to be there. I'm going to take off now," said Dubois.

She says if you ever do spy a mountain lion in a tree, slowly back away and maintain eye contact.

"It's probably going to just leave. If it does come after you, make yourself large and make noise," said Dubois.

ABC 10News reached out to the elementary school and Fish and Wildlife officials, and are waiting to hear back.