After wandering into a Colorado neighborhood for some shade — and causing a little commotion — a curious mountain lion is back in the wild.
Lily Rutledge-Ellison spotted the animal under the deck of a home in the neighborhood of Englewood after her pet feline Wesley sniffed out the 60-pound big cat. Englewood is about 10 miles south of Denver.
"We were walking with him, and he went under the deck and came jumping out with a really bushy tail," she told KDVR.
Rutledge-Ellison's boyfriend checked under the deck to see what spooked the house cat and found a mountain lion staring back at him.
"I was like in Englewood? No way. That's why I really didn't believe it was a mountain lion. I thought maybe a bobcat," Rutledge-Ellison added.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) humanely captured the wild animal, who appeared to be looking for shade, from under the deck. Officials estimate the female mountain lion is about 2½ years old and in good health.
Rutledge-Ellison said that officials took nearly five hours getting the mountain lion out safely.
"Everybody was very gentle. They were really trying to be as safe as possible for all the people around," she added.
"The reason we chose to go hands-on with this mountain lion was because it was so deep in the heart of the city," area wildlife manager Matt Martinez told KDVR. "We are glad this operation worked out so smoothly for that neighborhood and for the mountain lion. We'd like to thank the Englewood Police Department and Code Enforcement for assisting us in getting that lion out safely."
CPW shared a photo of the mountain lion after they captured and tagged her, as well as a video of them setting her free in a "more appropriate habitat" the next day. CPW believes the former deck dweller could be the same mountain lion that was spotted earlier this month in the nearby town of Centennial on July 6, but there's no way to know definitively.
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Mountain lions are "generally calm, quiet, and elusive," and they tend to live in "remote, primitive country with plentiful deer and adequate cover," according to the CPW's website, where animal lovers can find a list of precautions to take if you encounter a mountain lion.