BELMONT, Calif. - Residents of Belmont woke up to a frightening scene in their front yard early Wednesday morning, a deadly fight playing out between two mountain lions. Belmont police say the fight, which was caught on a doorbell camera, ended with one mountain lion killing the other.
It happened around 2 a.m. along Hastings Drive. The camera picked up a series of growls and roars during the fight, before one mountain lion dragged its kill across the street to a neighbor's doorstep.
"Makes me nervous, very nervous," said neighbor Lisa Weidanz. "A mountain lion, dragging another mountain lion. Oh my goodness."
"Just keep your head on a swivel," said Kevin Stanford who is part of the area’s neighborhood watch. "I’m hoping I don’t find it, but if I do, our PD is really good and they would respond super-duper fast."
Belmont Police urged caution on Wednesday, but not everyone in the neighborhood was unnerved by the brawl.
"It’s pretty cool actually. I mean it’s not just one, it’s two and they were fighting. So that's not that common," said neighbor Ming Bong Lee.
But wildlife experts say, while mountain lion fights may seem rare, and appear shocking, they're more common than some might think.
"It’s kind of just mountain lions being mountain lions," said Tiffany Yap, a wildlife expert at the Center for Biological Diversity. "It is a common occurrence for mountain lions to kill each other over territory. I think sometimes it becomes a greater occurrence when they are boxed in and their habitat is limited, and so with a lot of habitat loss and fragmentation we might see it a little bit more."
Yap says mountain lions are largely solitary creatures that avoid humans, and are a key part of California's ecosystem.
"They are important for a lot of other species and a lot of biodiversity throughout California," said Yap.
California Fish and Wildlife says it’s found no direct evidence that the surviving mountain lion is a threat to humans, but neighbors are advised not to leave their pets or small children unattended.
The department also suggests removing any sources of food or water which might attract deer. Deer are common prey for mountain lions.