California Mountain Lion Caught on Camera Taking a Midnight Swim

by Amy Myers
(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Usually, cats don’t like water too much, but one mountain lion decided to take a swim off a California resident’s deck.

On Saturday morning, at 1:20 a.m., Lake Mission Viejo local Valerie Strowski awoke to her frantic husband telling her about a mountain lion in their backyard. Like any of us, Strowski first thought her spouse was crazy, probably shrugging him off as she pulled the covers back. But sure enough, when the two opened the door to their balcony, there was the mountain lion. Strowski, a Lake Mission Viejo resident for eight years, had never experienced anything like this.

“We don’t really get coyotes and the bigger animals out by the lake, anyway,” Strowski said. “I don’t think they like the water.”

See for yourself in the clip below.

According to the California native, the mountain lion appeared to focus its attention on some fake fish toys in their pool. Of course, Strowski had to pull out her phone to snap a video of the big cat prowling around the deck. After all, it isn’t often that they get unexpected visitors around their pool.

“It looked so peaceful,” Strowski said. “My neighbors have been teasing me this morning and saying that it came to our house because it must have liked the view.”

Orange County Authorities Couldn’t Locate Mountain Lion

Following the video, the mountain lion splashed into the lake water. At the same time, local authorities arrived and tried searching for the swimming cat. With their flashlights directed at the water, they saw two eyes staring back at them as the mountain lion swam.

But like Strowski, the Orange County deputies didn’t believe there was a swimming mountain lion at first.

“If there wasn’t video of this animal swimming across the lake, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me,” said J.R. Stewart, and Animal Control Sgt. for Mission Viejo Animal Services.

According to the California resident, at one point, the mountain lion swam more than 300 yards and was almost at the other side of the lake. The Strowskis and authorities assumed that the big cat made it to the shore near the Mallorca Condominiums. However, when they went to search the area the next morning, they couldn’t find the mountain lion.

Animal control officials will be on the lookout for the mountain lion. If they end up locating the mountain lion, they may place a tracking collar on it. But chances of finding the animal are getting increasingly slimmer as these cats can travel long distances in a single day.

For now, though, it makes for a great neighborhood story.

“It’s all the neighbors are talking about,” Strowski said. “Some people with dogs are making a point about keeping them in at night, for now.”