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Mountain lion footprints found near Belmont school
Bay City News Service
Article Launched: 12/31/2007 12:31:08 PM PST


Footprints believed to be that of a mountain lion were found Sunday afternoon in the ballpark area of a Belmont middle school, according to officials.
Police responded to Ralston Middle School, located at 2675 Ralston Ave., around 12:30 p.m. after a citizen reported seeing tracks in the rear ballpark area of the school, officials said.

The tracks were located adjacent to the fence line on the south side of the school, but did not appear to be fresh, according to officials.
 

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sunnyside up
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Yikes. I've been out working on the trails below the school around the lake. It's kinda inconvenient to not be able to go out alone to do the scouting I need to do for a realignment. My dog might possibly serve as warning, but I doubt she'd be useful for anything if a mountain lion were to pounce.

When I was growing up on the coast, we used to always look out to sea for whale spouts. My dad used to say "You may not see them, but they're there!"
 

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knobbyknees said:
When I was growing up on the coast, we used to always look out to sea for whale spouts. My dad used to say "You may not see them, but they're there!"
I've seen whales off our coast, but never a mountain lion in our parks. Dangerous or not - I am looking forward to my first sighting!
 

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singlespeed.org said:
I've seen whales off our coast, but never a mountain lion in our parks. Dangerous or not - I am looking forward to my first sighting!

Me too. I have seen one while driving (and didnt feel threatened). It was beautiful and graceful and huge as it leapt across the road and up a bank. I want to see one while riding.

Chances of one attacking you are not enough to worry about.

If you look closely, the tracks are quite common. They are out there and watching us more than we think. Just look for the prints without any claw marks:

<a href="https://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v285/tinc500/?action=view&current=DSC01037.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v285/tinc500/DSC01037.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
 

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stripes said:
Those look like canine (wolf, dog, coyote) prints as they leave claw marks. Cats of any type (mountain lion, tiger, kittens) do not because they retract their claws when they walk.

Thats exactly what I said in my text and hey, if you look at the picture you wont see any claw marks! Usually canine tracks are narrower as well. Also, look at the size of the print, thats my 2.1 tire track next to it. That could be a Great Dane maybe if it had claw marks. :)

Watch out for these creatures:

<a href="https://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v285/tinc500/?action=view&current=DSC001802.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v285/tinc500/DSC001802.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Edit: Chart added for reference:

<img src="https://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/webcasts/desert/images/mlions/comptracks.gif">
 

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singlespeed.org said:
I've seen whales off our coast, but never a mountain lion in our parks. Dangerous or not - I am looking forward to my first sighting!
Between 1998 and 2000 I saw 2 mountain lions and 20+ whales, but I'm 0-0 since then. Thought there was a slim chance I was looking at a big cat hunkered down in the grass the other day but after getting a better look it turned out to be a bobcat. This time I was glad as my two year old was running along in front of me on the coastal trail below Ridgecrest... Now she says "I saw a kitty-kat on Mt Tam."

-slide
 
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The triple lobes on the lower side of the pad in the center of the paw are indicative of a cat in the picture provided,size would then be determinative
 

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Fillet-brazed said:
Chances of one attacking you are not enough to worry about.

If you look closely, the tracks are quite common. They are out there and watching us more than we think. Just look for the prints without any claw marks:
Nice track. I agree it looks like a mountain lion.

Actually, by being alone, off trail, in an area where a mountain lion track was recently seen, and where several mountain lion sightings have been reported recently, my chances of being attacked increase significantly. I understand that the chances are still quite small, however.

I'm not afraid; I just understand that if you want to use statistics in any sort of meaningful way, you need to adjust your risk (nominator) by your exposure (denominator). If the average person's chance of being attacked by a mountain lion are 150/5,000,000,000 and I am way, way, way far from average, my chance of being attacked is very different. Maybe it's now 150/50,000. Sort of like what are your chances of being killed by a drunk driver while driving down a residential street at 2pm on 3/1/08 versus while driving on Hwy 880 at 1:30am on 1/1/08. Increased levels of exposure to the hazard increase your risk of being a victim.

It's enough to make me want to go out with someone, instead of alone. It's not enough to keep me from going out there.

Patty
 

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Actually, you need to be cautious interpreting the lobes. Most quadrupeds will place the track of their hind foot very close to, or on top of the track of the fore foot while walking normally. Often the portion of the forefoot track that appears under the hindfoot track can confuse you. It helps if you can find several different tracks to try to make sure the one you are looking at is clean.
 

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Meaningless addition

diskus said:
The triple lobes on the lower side of the pad in the center of the paw are indicative of a cat in the picture provided,size would then be determinative
This was the first thing that I noticed to about the track posted. I would be surprised to see any indication of a mountain lion in Belmont. Except that in the past few years there have been several mountain lions in urban areas, BART station in Fremont, Palo Alto creekside close to town, I think the police shot another one in Palo Alto a couple years ago. Anyway here are my pennies.
I worked in and around mount Tam for several years, for PG&E, the Marin Municipal Water District and Muir Woods National Monument. From 1994 to 2000 I spent most of my time in remote areas and especially for PG&E in west Marin walking 101 miles of power lines where people never go on/in/and around really remote areas. I never once saw a mountain lion. I move to San Jose, live and work in the city primarily, next thing you know I'm riding around Fremont Older in Cupertino after work and I see a mountain lion on seven springs trail.
Moral of the story, they are are out there and closer than you would ever think, especially in the wild land interfaces. I don't doubt in the winter that a cat would stray for some food.
Good tracks posted FB. :thumbsup:
RJ
 

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When I lived in San Mateo I used to see bobcats all the time both at Water Dog and at Sugar Loaf park. One day I was towing my kid in the Burley trailer through Sugar Loaf, about a mile from my house and I finally spotted my first Mountain Lion. He/she was casually walking away from me about 100 feet away. I was worried, mostly because of my kid, who was only 1 or 2 years old. But that cat didn't care about us at all. It would turn and look over its shoulder at us, but luckily it wasn't interested. I told a friend about it a couple of years later, and he said he spotted it while running on the trails at Water Dog one day. Not too long after that there were signs posted at both parks warning people that they might encounter mountain lions out there.
 

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I was a Waterdog today and saw 4 or 5 deer (2 separate groups - one group on Rambler and the other group on the main fire road). Lots of kitty food in the area, so they shouldn't need to bother with those in lycra...
 

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Mt Lions at Waterdog

I would hope that no one would doubt that there are big kitties roaming around in Belmont. My 1st ever Mtn Lion sighting was about 30 years ago in San Jaun Canyon (other side of Ralston Ave) then a few years later while hiking up "stairway to heavan"...now called Berry Trail. These were brief sightings but enough that I never would go to the lake by myself after that. As a kid growing up in Belmont we were told that Mountain Lions were pretty common and no big deal. I still hold that sentiment...It is important to have a healthy respect for the big cats but if you use common sense....

speaking of common sense...I rode there alone last year just after Thanksgiving and posted here about seeing Mtn Lion tracks on Rambler trail and then high tailing it out of there when I could not shake that feeling of being watched. WTF? I live in Auburn and there are plenty of Lion sightings here (I have had a few) and I ride by myself all the time.

So, here I am again on December 27, 2007. Riding alone again at Waterdog. Common sense? I decided to check out the trail that goes around the lake to see if it was ridable all the way around. As I was hikabiking through downed trees at the back of the lake I got that feeling of being watched again and I was out of there.

I am not a Mnt Lion expert but my guess is that they are somewhat migratory and move in and out of that canyon and up into the Crystal Springs watershed (God only knows how many Lions are up in that area). This means they have a very narrow corridor in which to come and go...possibly crossing under 280 by edgewood and eventually having to cross at least one street like Hallmark to get into that canyon. It would be cool to have some vid cams set up long term at the upper entrances to see who comes and goes.
 

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yall need to get out more

I'd call it a cat track (the picture) I've seen a lot of them. You will sometimes see the cat's tracks with claw marks, they do retract them walking, but they do show up.

Everyones got a sighting story. Here's a couple of mine. Soquel Demo, a few years ago, climbing up Sulphur springs, near the start...came around a corner and a large cat was walking up the trail away from me. I stopped about 40 feet behind it and it still didn't sense me. I didn't know what else to say so I said in a loud voice "nice kitty" , he stopped looked back, twitched his tail and kept walking.

A fewer years ago still, Mission peak in Fremont. On the top between the towers and Mission Peak proper. Riding on the fireroad with a ledge on my left and a open field area on the right. Stopped for something looked up and there was big kitty, sitting looking down at me. 8 feet away maybe. I moved to the field without looking away, and he left.

Last fall, my back deck. Loud commotion, snarling growling, screaming.....grabbed the zillion candlelight power flashlight and went outside (I live in very dense woods near Demo) a large, large cat had grabbed a raccoon and climbed an oak tree over my deck and was proceeding to kill the ****. The raccoon was the one doing the screaming. I lased the cat with the light but he kept on killing the ****. He sat there with a now dead raccoon 20 feet up in the tree staring me down. A couple of shells from the Remi 870 into the ground made him finally leave. Actually, that may have been the fall before last, I forget.

I wouldn't be too worried in urban areas, although the cats do come down at night. What kills me is when I see folks out in Soquel Demo with little kids and small dogs wondering around away from the parents. I always make it a point to let them know that they need to keep their children close as well as their dogs. The cats aren't going to come down and fight them for the offspring and animals, they will come from above or the side, grab them and be gone before mom or dad knows what happened. A 150 lb cat can carry a child or dog without much effort.

Me? I'm looking for Sasquatch tracks out here. When they come around at night, that's when I get nervous....
 

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Cadillac said:
:D

I saw a dead bobcat at "The Dog" on the side of the fire road going up from Continentals about 3 months ago. S/he was an easy 25 pounds.
Although my Photoshop skills blow, the impetus to draft it up came from a couple of equestrians we ran in to who said they saw a cougar stalking a herd of deer nearby. We were wary, but never saw him. A few other bikers we ran into apparently did.

Lucky them?

A lot of people confuse bobcats with mountain lions. I don't know how. The tail (and size) are dead giveaways. Also, if you get stared at with indifference, then it's probably a bobcat. A cougar wouldn't let you be so lucky that you get a good look at it. It's too good of a predator.
 

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Biking Brazilian said:
Although my Photoshop skills blow, the impetus to draft it up came from a couple of equestrians we ran in to who said they saw a cougar stalking a herd of deer nearby. We were wary, but never saw him. A few other bikers we ran into apparently did.

Lucky them?

A lot of people confuse bobcats with mountain lions. I don't know how. The tail (and size) are dead giveaways. Also, if you get stared at with indifference, then it's probably a bobcat. A cougar wouldn't let you be so lucky that you get a good look at it. It's too good of a predator.
Did you see that story on the news a while back? It was an obvious slow news day with MOUNTAIN LIONS SPOTTED IN SOUTH BAY NEIGHBORHOOD! The footage was of about 4 cats frolicking in a field. They were calling them mountain lions when they had no tails. I commented to that effect to my wife and then later in the broadcast they made the correction after a flurry of phone calls.

Tee hee.
 
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