Camera captures mountain lion attacking deer

HILLSBOROUGH (KTVU) -- A Peninsula homeowner's surveillance camera captured a recent battle between a wildlife predator and prey, a rare glimpse of two of nature's creatures battling to survive.

Resident Peter Rauenbuehler said his wife heard strange sounds outside the front door of the couple's home on Rizal Drive. Then the family's dogs started barking.

"We heard a loud kind of a snapping sound," Rauenbuehler said. "It might have been a tree, because it was raining and kind of breezy. My wife came out and looked through the peep hole in the door and thought she say a coyote."

She didn't see a coyote.

The patio lights would show a mountain lion stalking the home's perimeter before dragging off its prey. A deer, grazing on the property, had been attacked and killed.

"After he grabbed him in the front (and) snapped his neck he carried him over the rail and brought him onto the front porch."

Rauenbuehler speculates that the mountain lion wanted to "start working on the carcass of the deer," which is why it dragged its victim to the flat surface of the patio.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden Lt.  James Ober said the deadly conclusion to a predator/prey encounter is rarely caught on camera.

"It's not unusual for them to kill right where the deer are feeding," Ober said. "It's just their natural behavior. They are tracking deer (because) it's their primary food source."

Fish and wildlife officials say Hillsborough and the surrounding area in this part of Northern California sit in the habitat for mountain lions. Wildlife officials advise homeowners against growing vegetation that attracts deer, since the deer will then attract mountain lions."

Rauenbuehler said the sight of a mountain lion stalking and killing prey isn't scary but does make him think about precautions.

"We just want to protect the kids and the dogs," he said. "So we'll be a little cautious in the evenings and early morning hours."

By KTVU reporter Jesse Gary.

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