SAN MATEO -- Authorities are warning residents of a possible mountain lion sighting Tuesday in the city of San Mateo.
Officers responded about 1 a.m. to the reported sighting on Fernwood Street, San Mateo police Sgt. Richard Decker said. Residents told officers they heard what sounded like a distressed animal and looked outside to see a mountain lion attacking a deer in a creek bed in their backyard.
While the mountain lion was not there when officers arrived, they found the dead deer in the creek bed, Decker said. Authorities notified the Peninsula Humane Society and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
While officials say it is rare for mountain lions to approach humans, residents are urged to keep an eye on small children in wooded areas and to avoid hiking or jogging through the same areas at dawn or after dusk, when mountain lions are most active. They are also reminded not to feed deer, as it is illegal in California and may attract mountain lions.
Residents are also advised not to approach a mountain lion if they encounter one, and to also avoid running away. Officials say the most effective tactic is to make a commotion while facing the animal, like making noise and waving arms to look bigger.
For more information about mountain lions, visit www.keepmewild.org. The investigation into the San Mateo sighting is being handled by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Follow Erin Ivie at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.