It's at the top of the watershed food chain. But the mountain lion is solitary and reclusive. So, though our staff may spot signs of its presence—like tracks, scat, or scratches on tree trunks—they rarely spot the big cat itself. Instead, they’ve set up remote trail cameras that capture an occasional image.
Since mountain lions are largely nocturnal, what nighttime images turn up are dark and muddy at best. So watershed keeper Sarah Lenz was thrilled to find this daytime shot on one of her cameras. “They’re definitely active during the day too,” she said. “We feel lucky to see such a secretive watershed resident from time to time.”
The 23,000-acre watershed, with its connections to adjacent Peninsula open space, allows for the kind of wide-ranging wildlife corridor that’s so vital for mountain lions and other large mammals requiring a large territory to roam.
Mountain lions feed on a variety of other animal species, from deer to raccoons and mice. They hunt alone and attack from behind. After killing their prey, they’ll bury what they don’t eat and come back to feed on the rest when they’re hungry. Mating is usually from December to March, with a female raising her litter of two to four kittens on her own. The kittens remain with their mother for up to 2 years before setting out to establish their own territories.