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Man describes encounter with mountain lion in Northwest Reno neighborhood

The mountain lion pictured was captured in the Santa Monica Mountains in Nov. 2015 (Photo: National Park Service)

The northwest Reno neighborhood off Kings Row is probably one of the last places you'd expect to see a mountain lion strolling down the street, but that's exactly what Scott Goodin said he saw on Thursday night.

Goodin said he's used to seeing wildlife around his neighborhood. "The other day, we had four raccoons in the tree over here. We've had coyotes come down the street. I had a skunk come down the side yard one night."

But he's never seen anything like the animal he saw right in front of his house at about 10:00 p.m. "I've never seen a mountain lion in the wild and to see one in the streets of Reno-- it was a little bit of a shocker, you know?"

Scott said he was standing in his front yard, talking on the phone, when he saw what looked like a big dog-- until the animal got a little closer. "You could see the big tail." Goodin said, "I'd say the animal was at least 200-225 pounds."

He said he locked eyes with the giant cat as it strolled down his street and then jumped down into a nearby ravine. "And he just looked at me and turned around and kept going."

Goodin's experience makes the fourth reported mountain lion sighting in Reno city limits this week. Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) officials said their biologists have been canvassing the areas near the sightings, looking for any scat or paw prints the giant cat might have left in its tracks.

NDOW Urban Wildlife Coordinator Jessica Heitt said officials have not yet been able to verify any of the sightings. "We are trying to confirm whether or not these were actual mountain lion sightings but we are looking into them actively at the moment."

She said mountain lions roaming around Reno aren't as uncommon as people might think.

"We do live in mountain lion habitat. They live here in Nevada."

Heitt said there are a few reasons why a mountain lion might wander into an urban area like Reno. Recent fires could be displacing some wildlife, but the time of year plays a factor as well.

"As we move later into the summer," Heitt said, "there's less moisture out, which is going to move prey into urban areas, because we have a constant supply of food, and so the mountain lions are just following the prey."

This is also the season when young male mountain lions are leaving their packs in search of their own territories. Wildlife officials believe that's why a young mountain lion ended up at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in downtown Reno back in 2012.

Regardless of the reason the mountain lion landed in his neighborhood, Scott Goodin is happy to have witnessed the wild animal right from his front porch. "Kind of exciting. I've seen a lot of animals and so it was pretty cool."

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