When a Murrieta resident suspected a mountain lion was sneaking into his backyard, he set up motion sensor cameras and caught his new visitor on camera walking near his swimming pool.
Jason Reid set up motion sensor cameras recently to try to capture an image of a mountain lion who has been visiting the backyard of his home on the 18000 block of Avenida Bosque in Murrieta over the last couple of weeks.
He set up the cameras to capture still photographs, and thinks the pictures were taken Sunday night. Although it wasn't captured on camera, Reid says the lion drinks from his swimming pool.
Local news from across Southern California
Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said mountain lion sightings are not uncommon for people who live in typical "mountain lion territory."
There have always been mountain lions there, he said, but with new technology such as trail cameras, people are having sightings more often.
"They don't want anything to do with people," Hughan said. "If you see a mountain lion you should consider yourself lucky because they're very shy."
Hughan said the chances of a mountain lion attack are "miniscule," but noted that it can still happen because they are dangerous animals.
In Orange and Los Angeles counties, there have been five verified mountain lion attacks between 1986 and 2014, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Reid believes the mountain lion he caught on camera is responsible for killing three of his neighbor's goats.
Hughan said mountain lions stay in a large area called a "home range." Typically, male mountain lions will stay in a 250 square foot area, while females stay in a 150 square foot area. Yet, if there was a food source in a specific location, such as goats, it would not be out of character for the mountain lion to stay close to the food source, Hughan said.
He advised homeowners living in the area to take precautions and keep their pets indoors if there is a mountain lion in the area. Although mountain lions will not seek out pets, Hughan said, they become a "target of opportunity" if left outside.
Kelly Smith, who lives on the Santa Rosa Plateau near Reid's home, said the community is used to wildlife, and is not scared by the sightings. She added they are learning to live responsibly with their wildlife neighbors.
Additional information and tips about living in areas with mountain lions and how to stay safe around them are listed on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's website.