POWAY, Calif. -- Recent wildfires may be pushing mountain lions closer to homes.
Last week, a couple of felines got too close for comfort for the Young family, who lives in northeastern Poway. Surveillance video captured two cougars coming right up to their house just after midnight on July 22.
“It was a little scary. I had just been out on a run the night before,” Amy Young said.
The video shows one of them pawing at the front door.
“I’ve always known they were around but to see them actually at my front door, that’s a different story,” Young said.
Young posted images from the video on Facebook to warn her neighbors and was surprised when reading through the comments.
“The ones that are living closer to where I am, or along the mountainside, here on the very east side, there were a lot of people making comments about seeing them in their yard or around the street,” Young said.
FOX 5 also spoke to residents in Valley Center, who said they have seen cougars closer to homes and businesses in recent weeks.
“Do I think wildfires are pushing mountain lions out of their territories into the cities? Certainly. Do I have the data? No, but it only makes sense,” natural disasters expert Dr. Pat Abbott said.
Abbott said the wild animals are lone individuals.
“Nobody else comes into their territory and that could be 10 square miles, that could be 100 square miles," Abbott said. "Now, you take all these conditions where we have these massive wildfires and you burn thousands and thousands of acres, that means there are mountain lions that are being pushed out of their territory."
As for why the two got close to the Young house? It could have been the smell of the family cats sleeping inside, but only the unwanted visitors really know.
“I’m not sure why they decided to come visit me, but I’d appreciate it if they’d stay away," Young said.
Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told FOX 5 they cannot say for sure if the wildfires are causing mountain lions to move closer to homes, but they want to remind people that cougars will attack outdoor pets so it is wise to take them inside. A spokesperson with the department added that it is rare for mountain lions to attack humans, but if you do come face to face with one, do not run away -- instead, make yourself look big and make loud noises.