Conejo open space areas are habitat areas, and open space visitors may occasionally have the opportunity to observe wildlife. Most species are not dangerous, but rattlesnakes and mountain lions can be.
Mountain Lions and Bobcats
There is potential to encounter mountain lions in most of the larger open space areas in the Conejo Valley, but sightings are typically rare as these big cats are very elusive. The bobcat is commonly seen in open space areas in Thousand Oaks. Read on for hiking safety information - if you'd like to learn more about protecting pets and livestock, go to our Mountain Lion page.
Hiking in Mountain Lion Habitat
Mountain lions are typically solitary, elusive animals that prefer natural areas and attempt to avoid coming in contact with humans. If you encounter a mountain lion, make yourself appear as large and intimidating as possible by yelling, waving your arms, and even throwing objects in the direction of the animal. Slowly back away and allow space for the mountain lion to move away. Do not turn your back and run.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends the following safety measures:
- DO NOT HIKE ALONE: Go in groups, with adults supervising children. If you happen to be hiking alone, periodically stop and look behind you. Mountain lions typically approach their prey from behind.
- KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE TO YOU: Observations of captured wild mountain lions reveal that the animals seem especially drawn to children. Keep children within your sight at all times.
- DO NOT APPROACH A LION: Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- DO NOT RUN FROM A LION: Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so they don’t panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.
- DO NOT CROUCH DOWN OR BEND OVER: A person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. If you’re in mountain lion country, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children.
- DO ALL YOU CAN TO APPEAR LARGER: Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Again, pick up small children. Throw stones, branches or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.
- FIGHT BACK IF ATTACKED: Rocks, sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, and bare hands have all been successfully used to fend off attacking animals. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.
- IMMEDIATELY REPORT ALL ENCOUNTERS AND ATTACKS: If you are involved in a face-to-face encounter with, or an attack by, a mountain lion, contact the California
- Department of Fish and Game 24-hour dispatch center at (916) 445-0045. The threat to public safety will be assessed and any appropriate action will be taken. Please also report any sightings of dead or injured mountain lions.