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Mountain Lion Sighting
updated: Dec 21, 2012, 7:55 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

At about 3:30 pm today, I spotted a mountain lion in the field across from Santa Barbara Airport long term parking on Fairview Road where the two turns occur. The lion was only about 50 feet off Fairview road when I first saw it, wallked away from me toward Goleta Beach along the creek bed, and disappeared into the brush.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 356559 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 07:59 PM

We are in there territory.


 COMMENT 356564 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 08:15 PM

Bobcat I'm sure


 COMMENT 356570 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 08:33 PM

Tom cat I'm sure


 COMMENT 356574P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 09:27 PM



 COMMENT 356575P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 09:46 PM

How big was it? How long was its tail? It is more likely that it was a bobcat. Cool sighting, though.


 COMMENT 356576P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 09:46 PM

That was a bobcat. Mountain lions don't come down this far.


 COMMENT 356580P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 09:52 PM

This reminds me of the time a young couple told me there was an otter carcass washed up on Ellwood Beach. It was a dead seal. Kind of amazing to me how people could confuse two such different animals.


 COMMENT 356586 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-21 11:53 PM

Early this year (maybe Feb) I caught a glimpse of a bobcat in that area.


 COMMENT 356597P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 06:38 AM

Most likely a bobcat - but thanks for the info - cool!


 COMMENT 356606 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 07:20 AM

Need pictures!


 COMMENT 356616 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 07:39 AM

I think you mean bobcat. They are frequent sightings of them in the Goleta area. They are a little bigger than a midsize dog (smaller than a coyote for sure) and have proportionally longer legs with a short, "bobbed", tail. It's quite exciting to spot one, huh?

However you saw what you saw and if you had a photo it'd more convincing to the rest of us.


 UPONTHEHILL agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 07:42 AM

Wild animals are not that predictable. When I had only been in Santa Barbara a few years I remember seeing a mt. lion on Bath st. just up from Haley. There was a little grocery store on the corner and he was out front. We were all told to get out of the area and animal control and the police were called. This was in the 60's. Everyone speculated that he had come down the creek?


 COMMENT 356622 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 07:48 AM

Mountain lions and Bobcats are very different and the reporter wasn't that far away, I'm going with mountain lion.


 COMMENT 356628P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:00 AM

I live in Toro Canyon and I frequently see bobcats and coyotes. However, once I saw a COUGAR (aka Mountain Lion) and, believe me, I could tell the difference! It looked like the female lions I used to see at the zoo--except it was sauntering up my driveway!!!

So, there ARE cougars in this area and the OP probably saw one. It is a pretty dramatic site!


 COMMENT 356634 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:04 AM

They do come close to where we are, think of the sighting of the bear on Modoc Road. Be careful, don't pet!


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:16 AM

Thank you for the report, I enjoyed reading about your sighting. Discount the "picture" people who don't realize not everyone carries photo equipment (cameras or phones, whatever). You had a nice experience and shared, good enough for me.


 COMMENT 356643 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:30 AM

There was a young mountain lion in residence behind the UCSB mailroom off Mesa Rd a few years ago, and I have seen tracks near the Elwood monarch reserve and along Atascadero Creek near South Patterson. There's no way to verify this report if you're a skeptic, but lions are among us, right down to the beach. This is about when last year's cubs are booted out by their pregnant mother, and they wander around a lot.


 COMMENT 356646 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:37 AM

I will remain neutral about the sighting as a Mtn. Lion.
However, it does reming me of a trip over 25 years ago to the arctic. I was with a small group on a eleven day float of a river in July. Toward the end of the trip a woman who was more familiar with the urban environment was not far away, looking through binoculars. She shouted "Bear", which up there only meant grizzly. After making sure we were not in immediate danger, we tried to see the ursine. We looked and looked. Bear in mind that little grows over twelve inches tall up in that part of the tundra. No bear. Our collective conclusion was that it was a ground squirrel. She protested and we did not deride.


 COMMENT 356651 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:48 AM

Maybe it was a very aggressive ground squirrel.


 COMMENT 356653P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:50 AM

OP needs pictures to be more convincing? Is this some sort of persuasion contest? I think it's a great story and I don't need convincing. No one here could be certain it wasn't a mountain lion. Goleta Slough is still a great place for finding prey. Anyway even if it was *only* a bobcat I think it's cool. I've lived here 20 years and only once seen a bobcat, from a great distance, trotting along a path in a meadow up in the mountains.


 SPACE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 09:03 AM

I have lived here over 40 years and have yet to see a bobcat, but I am hiking the trails and constantly looking. I would especially like to see a mountain lion, from a safe distance. Keep the reports coming, it gives me hope.


 SBROCKS agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 09:18 AM

You see something amazing that you want to share with everyone. You post it on EdHat. After reading some of the comments you wonder why did you post it. So many Debbie Downers out there. Thanks for sharing. What an awesome experience to see.


 COMMENT 356674 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 09:36 AM

Mountain lions DO come down to the airport via the creek that runs into the slough.
I worked out there and have seen them first hand, "Mr. mountain lions don't come down this far..."


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 09:54 AM

A few years ago I remember reading about a man who encountered a mountain lion at Gaviota Beach Park, I think it might have been in the creek. He had to save his daughter, a toddler, who was being stalked, as I recall. Don't remember details, but it was near the beach, not up in the mountains. If the habitat is right, doesn't matter what the elevation is.


 COMMENT 356684 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 09:57 AM

Underlining SBROCKS.

Where there are wildlife corridors there will be wildlife. I've lived in Pacific Palisades, Santa Barbara, the Pismo area, and here in the North State near the Sacramento River. In all these places there are nearby wild areas, wild animals, corridors, and beaches, and we have had a number of sightings.

You may not see a lot of something but you can't be sure you won't. Keep looking. Look for tracks, fur, feathers if you can do it safely. Listen for vocalizations. Post it here.

(I'd tell you to get a camera but I don't have one either, LOL)


 COMMENT 356689 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 10:20 AM

The difference between the two (Bobcat versus Mountain lion) is not that difficult to discern. The Bobcat has a much shorter tail and usually a varied coloring. It also tends to have larger rear haunches, particularly the males. The mountain lion is almost universally tawny golden color with a long lower body and a much longer uniform and symetrical tail and its gate or creep is different from that of the Bobcat.


 COMMENT 356693 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 10:34 AM

More likely it was a Fat Cat. Then again, if it was motionless it might have a been a Cat-a-lepsy. Let's not forget that it's also the time of year where a Cat-a-logs are known to come down from the mts. They spend the winter months in old tree stumps. And though this is rare, I once saw a Cat-a-maran seeking shelter from a storm in the Goleta bay.
Not to mention the myriad sightings of Cat-or-pillars you might find on construction sites. So, unless you live in Cat-man-do I guess there's no end to the Cat-ch-as-cat-ch-can strange sightings around Santa Barbara.


 COMMENT 356700 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 11:08 AM

Animal Rescue Team here:

We have had several calls this week about a few bobcat sightings in the same general area. This is a bobcat, doing what it is suppose to do. Please enjoy the cat from a distance. The cat has a short tail, and spots. Should the cat fall ill, we will then respond. Thank you, www.animalrescueteam.net


 COMMENT 356701 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 11:48 AM

Thank you SBROCKS! How right you are...


 COMMENT 356711 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 12:50 PM

Geezum, I can't believe the complete lack of confidence in another's ability to identify an animal or at the very least diffentiate between a 10-30 lb animal vs. a 110-180 lb one. We have a mountain lion that over winters here in my neighborhood. Some of us see it, some don't. Luck of the draw. I know that there have been times when it's been seen along the creek, there will be a siting the next day in town... also near the creek. We also have bobcats. It really isn't a stretch to have BOTH in an area.

Mountain lion "ranges can vary in size from 10 square miles to around 370 square miles." Mating season is December through March.

Where as bobcats :"generally 25-30 square miles for males and about five square miles for females." Mating season is year round, but mostly late Winter.


 COMMENT 356761P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 03:20 PM

The only Bob Cat I have ever seen was sauntering up near Hearst Castle in the open space near Cambria. I live in Hope Ranch , have had chickens which would disappear but I never saw what was taking them one at a time. I finally gave the chickens away and although I have been told that bobcats live in the area I have never seen them. I am still looking.


 COMMENT 356773P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 03:48 PM

Well done, 693. Thanks for the laugh.


 COMMENT 356843 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-22 08:18 PM

We live very near the Atascadero Creek--and the More Mesa. Since 1965, before the Corp of Engineers came and did their cement job on the creek. Supposedly for mosquito Abatement. Well, whatever, involve the big guys and there goes the environment--protecting us.

The area was my boys playground and they would see steeheads in the creek and so many crawdads and tadpoles. And the track of many wild animals, even a bear once. It was a natural wildlife area. Yes, we do still get the oppossums, and raccoons around, and I am sure there are still coyotes baying. I am gone now, to Baja, but miss those days


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