Residents in a San Mateo neighborhood reported seeing a mountain lion attacking a deer early Tuesday, police said.
According to San Mateo police, residents on Fernwood Street heard what sounded to be an animal in distress in the creek bed behind their homes at about 1 a.m. Upon investigation, the residents said they saw the big cat attacking a deer.
Police officers responding to the scene found the deer carcass but did not locate the mountain lion.
Officials from the Peninsula Humane Society and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were notified of the incident.
Fish and Wildlife officials caution that while it is rare for a mountain lion to approach humans, it is illegal in California to feed deer, as it will attract the big cats.
To avoid a mountain lion encounter, residents should avoid hiking or jogging through wooded areas at dusk, dawn and at night, when mountain lions are most active, and should keep a close watch over children.
Anyone who comes face to face with a mountain lion is advised not to run, and instead face the animal, make a noise and try to look bigger by waving, throwing rocks or other objects at the animal.