A mountain lion tried to enter an Irvine hair salon Tuesday, but was apparently not a welcomed customer.
The creature was spotted around 1:15 p.m. outside the Bishops salon in the Sand Canyon Plaza, in the area of Waterworks Way and Odyssey.
“I just heard commotion outside and I just looked up, and all of sudden, I just see this lion coming out of nowhere,” an employee named Rukkus said.
The mountain lion attempted to enter the shop but the receptionist closed the door just in time, causing the animal to slam up against the glass window and then run away, according to store employees.
“At first, I thought it was a robbery or maybe a shooting,” employee Claire Leenerts said, adding that people were yelling. “It was very scary. I’m looking over and I just see it slammed right into our glass.”
The mountain lion is a two-year-old male, according to Irvine Police Department Sgt. Karie Davies.
The lion was eventually captured, sedated and taken to a veterinarian for evaluation, Davies said. He will be released in the near future, police added.
“We are not lion, we had a purr-ty scary situation on our paws today,” Irvine Police said on Instagram. “As our claw-enforcement officers arrived, the lion ran towards the shopping center nearly causing a fur-enzy as it is uncommon for a mountain lion to be seen in Irvine.”
“Thankfully our officers are not scaredy cats and purr-sued the big kitty into a business area,” police continued, adding that officers backed off and gave the animal space while they gathered resources.
The spotting comes just days after Lake Mission Viejo residents woke up to another big mountain lion walking around in their yard and then going for a leisurely dip in the lake.
In recent years, there have been increasing interactions between people and mountain lions, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
People are advised not to crouch down or run away if they come face-to-face with a mountain lion, according to animal services.
Mountain lions are solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people by nature.
It’s not known why mountain lions venture out to neighborhoods, but wildlife experts say that as the human population expands into mountain lion habitat, there will be more frequent sightings.
The agency offers this advice to any Californian who encounters a mountain lion:
- Never approach a mountain lion. Give them an escape route.
- Do not run. Stay calm. Do not turn your back. Face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger.
- Do not crouch down or bend over.