A San Diego man encountered a bobcat walking around the campus of a North County high school Thursday.
A teacher at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley was stopping by class to check in on some student projects over the winter break when he ran right into the big cat.
His initial reaction?
“Holy ____ fill in your favorite expletive,” Ariel Haas told NBC 7.
Haas was walking up a set of stairs to his classroom when suddenly he saw what he described as a "significant cat."
“I lift my head up and all of a sudden I see a cat lying there and at first I thought it was a large house cat,” said Haas.
However, he said in about a half a second he realized this was no house cat.
“I recognized that it was a bobcat and I just froze, freaked out,” Haas said.
He said he didn’t move and looked straight into the big cat’s eyes. Haas described it as muscular and about two-feet high and four-feet long.
“It peered in my eyes for a split second and then took off down the stairs,” he said.
“I knew they were vicious. Not something to be messed with,” he added. “The cat took care of it for me. It just took off."
Haas, whose son is very interested in big cats, said all of those books they’ve read together helped him identify the cat quickly.
He immediately reached for his phone to snap some images to share with his son.
“The bobcat perched in the bushes about 30 paces away and just hung out there,” he said. “It was a pretty cool experience.”
Haas then posted some of the images to his Facebook page with the following post, “Walking up steps to classroom to check on my students, and on the steps, 5 feet away, is a Bobcat! He runs down the stairs right by my leg!"
He said it was scary and interesting at the same time.
“I was pretty shocked, pretty surprised to see a bobcat. I’ve never seen one and I’ve lived in San Diego for a long time,” he said.
Bobcats can survive in a number of habitats given there are places for it to hide, according to the San Diego Zoo's website.
They like to live in rocky areas where they can find shade in the heat and shelter in the cold. They also compete with coyotes for the same food and shelter, according to the zoo.