Confirmed: Mountain Lion Snatched Dog From Inside Pescadero Home

A mountain lion -- not this one -- made off with a 15-pound Portuguese Podengo in the middle of the night in Pescadero, California. (S.J. Krasemann/Getty Images)

A trace of mountain lion DNA was found in a blood sample taken from inside a Pescadero home where a dog was snatched last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

The finding confirms reports that a mountain lion entered the home and took a dog off the end of the bed where the homeowner was sleeping, CDFW said Monday.

The homeowner contacted authorities at 3 a.m. on April 17, reporting that she had seen "a shadow of an animal" enter the room through the open French doors before her 15-pound Portuguese Podengo was snatched from the foot of the bed where she was sleeping with her child, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

Responding sheriff’s deputies reported seeing wet paw prints at the bedroom's entrance; they didn't find the dog.

A CDFW wildlife officer later sent to investigate the incident found a small drop of blood on the door, which he took to the department's Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for analysis.


"Forensic analysis confirmed the blood found in the home was predominantly domestic dog, with trace amounts of mountain lion DNA, confirming a mountain lion had entered the home and taken the dog," the department said in the statement.

The officer didn't find any other obvious signs of a mountain lion in the home; the prints spotted by sheriff's deputies had dried and were no longer visible.

The department said it would take no further action and said that "this lion’s behavior is extremely rare. Most mountain lions are elusive in nature and rarely seen."

Wildlife sightings are not uncommon in the area around Pescadero and the Santa Cruz Mountains. CDFW has guidance on what residents can do to secure their properties and domestic pets to better coexist with mountain lions and other wildlife.

Mountain lions have the greatest range of any living mammal in the Americas, inhabiting mountains, forests, deserts and even wetlands, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

More than half of the state is mountain lion habitat. The animals are generally found where deer — a favorite food — are found, said the CDFW. And while it is in their nature to avoid humans, mountain lions will go after pets, livestock and, in rare cases, people.