Greg Munks, Sheriff of San Mateo County, California, was re-elected to a second term in the spring of 2012. As the county’s chief law enforcement officer, he is responsible for a broad range of safety and security issues. One of the lesser-known of these is the responsibility to educate the public on how to avoid danger in the wild. Like much of California, a large portion of San Mateo County is mountain lion habitat. Sheriff Greg Munks arranged for the department website to post safety tips for residents and visitors to avoid problems with mountain lions.

People living or spending time in mountain lion country must remember that these cats, while reclusive, are natural predators of deer. Any measures taken to attract deer will also attract mountain lions. For this reason, feeding deer is illegal in California; in addition, property owners can deer-proof their property by eliminating plants that deer like to eat. Brush should be kept trimmed back to reduce spots where mountain lions can hide, and pets and small children should not be left unattended.

Motion-sensitive lighting around a house in mountain lion country will help to frighten them away. Likewise, homeowners with vulnerable livestock like goats and sheep should provide them with sturdy enclosures that are covered. Pets should not be permitted outdoors unattended during the night or during dusk or dawn, because these are the times when mountain lions are the most active. Finally, the guidelines applying to deer also should apply to other potential mountain lion prey, like raccoons and opossums. Pet food that might attract these scavengers should not be left outside.

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