Video shows Florida panther in stare-down with woman from her back patio

There's nothing quite like relaxing at home, watching television when you turn towards the back door and make eye contact with a large predator.

For Naples, Florida resident Vendela Bjorkqvist, it was her reality last weekend as she was visited by a panther in her backyard.

Bjorkqvist spoke to the Naples Daily News, part of the USA TODAY Network, on Tuesday, discussing the encounter with the native cat. From the video she captured, the roughly 5-foot-long panther stares back at Bjorkqvist as she films behind her glass door.

"I was so shocked. I was watching a movie and I just felt like someone was looking at me," Bjorkqvist recalled of her initial reaction to seeing the panther on her patio.

"I was worried to take out my dogs for a few hours after that because he went to the front of the yard and was hanging out for at least 45 minutes."

Eventually, the panther did leave the area and Bjorkqvist posted the encounter to social media, which spread like wildfire from both locals and wildlife lovers alike.

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How frequently are Florida panthers seen?

Unfortunately, it's not too common to see Florida panthers as they are classified as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. It is estimated that there are approximately 120 to 230 adult panthers in Florida.

An endangered species is an animal or plant that is at risk of extinction. It is illegal to harm or harass an endangered species in any way.

Where are Florida panthers usually seen?

The only puma population east of the Mississippi River are Florida panthers, per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Panthers range from the extreme southern portions of the peninsula into Central Florida up to Orlando and occasionally further north. Although there are a few female panthers north of Lake Okeechobee, most females are found south of the lake and that is where most reproduction occurs.

What should I do if I am ever in the vicinity of a panther?

If you encounter a Florida panther, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends that you:

  • Keep children within sight and close to you.

  • Give the panther space. Most Florida panthers will avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

  • Do not run. Stand and face the animal. Make eye contact.

  • Avoid crouching or bending over. Squatting or bending over makes you look smaller, resembling a prey-sized animal.

  • Make yourself appear larger, open your jacket, raise your arms, throw stones, branches, etc. without turning away.

  • If attacked, fight back with whatever is at hand (without turning your back)

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Naples woman spots Florida panther staring back at her through glass door