ROWLETT, Texas — Several Texas residents were startled last week when they saw a mountain lion walking down a dirt road in a Dallas suburb. But a trail camera video confirmed what had never happened in Dallas County.
Stephanie Higgins, of Rowlett, and her boyfriend, Logan Aduddell, had set up the trail camera on the edge of his property, where they typically see bobcats and coyotes, The Dallas Morning News reported. In the early hours of Nov. 22, a mountain lion casually walked past the camera.
A few hours later, the couple viewed the video. “We reviewed it a couple of times and came to the conclusion it was a mountain lion based on the size and how long the tail was,” Higgins told the newspaper.
“I thought it was a bobcat at first but then I was like, ‘Man, that is way too big to be a bobcat,’” Higgins told KXAS.
Higgins posted the video on her Facebook page with the caption, “Big kitty in the city,” according to the Morning News.
The video confirmed what Rowlett resident Jovon Humphrey saw three hours before the animal walked in front of the camera. Humphrey said she was sitting in her vehicle in her carport, speaking with a friend on her cellphone, when she noticed some movement, WFAA reported.
Thinking one of her five children was out of bed, Humphrey realized that it was not a human roaming around her yard.
“I let the window down and when I turned I said, ‘That’s not a kid,’” Humphrey told WFAA.
Humphrey said she saw a large beige-coated animal walking between her two vehicles in the carport. The top part of the animal stood as tall as the bottom of the passenger’s side window, she told the television station.
“I was in disbelief, Humphrey told WFAA. “Then it turned into shock, and then it turned into fear.”
Humphrey said she immediately called the police.
Humphrey said she told the dispatcher, “I’m sitting in my car and there is a mountain lion in my backyard. She says, ‘Huh?’ I said there’s a mountain lion in my backyard.”
Biologists said they suspected this mountain lion was most likely a transient juvenile seeking a home range, KXAS reported.
“One key thing to keep in mind is mountain lions are a component of the natural landscape in many parts of Texas, and unless they are in what we would consider a no-tolerance zone such as near a school, or if the lion exhibited threatening behavior, then there’s really no action they would consider taking,” Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesperson Megan Radke said in a statement.
Chris Jackson, who runs a website and Facebook page called DFW Urban Wildlife, confirmed that he inspected the mountain lion’s tracks, finding them “in soft wet sand just south of where the videos of the cat were recorded,” the Morning News reported.
Jackson said he shared his photos with a tracking expert, who verified the prints, the newspaper reported.
Mountain lions are often confused with bobcats, but they are much larger and have long tails that touch the ground. A bobcat’s tail is normally 6 inches long and does not touch the ground.
“I’m about as convinced as I can be without seeing the cat myself,” Jackson told the Morning News. “The video appears to be legitimate, and the tracks were found in close proximity,” he said.
Higgins told the Morning News she did not want to share the property address because she did not want curiosity seekers or hunters trying to track down the mountain lion.
“I think they should just leave him alone,” Higgins told the newspaper. “There’s no point in trying to capture him and relocate him given the fact that they travel 40-80 miles,” she said. “It’d be one thing if we saw them frequently but we see them rarely.”