By Spring 2014, nearly 21 million U.S. households owned a spa, pool, or hot tub of some kind, and these amenities have become status symbols for many Americans.
But they can also be great sources of amusement when nature encounters them, which a California woman found out when a mountain lion nearly slipped and fell into her hot tub.
A viral video shows a mountain lion striding through backyards in Thousand Oaks, California. The video was captured by homeowner Renee Merrill and shows the big cat stumbling at the lip of a covered hot tub before running away.
If that cover hadn’t been there, it was likely that the cat would have found itself soaked to the bone after falling in.
The feline was caught a little later after authorities tracked it down in the neighborhood based on the video. This particular animal had been collared in an ongoing Park Service research on the local mountain lion population and originated in the Santa Monica Mountains. Jeff Sikich, a National Park Service biologist, guessed that the big cat wandered into the neighborhood by accident.
“I’m used to the coyotes, but never something this big,” Merrill told CBS Los Angeles. “The weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. The thing was huge…feet are ginormous.”
The Park Service had been tracking this large mammal, named P-55 by them, for several months as part of an ongoing attempt to protect the small population of wild mountain lions, also called pumas in the area, alive.
There are roughly 4,000 to 6,000 pumas in California, and quite a few live near the state’s massive human population. For more than a decade, the National Park Service has been studying the pumas of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Hopefully, in the future, hot tubs can be avoided in these studies, but curiosity is a trait displayed by a lot of felines, and who knows what P-55 will tell his friends.