Mountain lion enters occupied bedroom
Kay Packard of Los Angeles was visiting friends in Zephyr Cove when an earthquake shattered the glass of her guest bedroom window around 2 a.m. Sunday. At least that’s what she thought.
Packard pulled the covers over her head and wasn’t aware of a 4-year-old, 120-pound mountain lion careening around her room. The cat had pounced through a double-paned window. Officials speculated the animal attacked when he saw his reflection.
Packard was staying at the newly remodeled home of Tracy and Andy Chapman on the 100 block of Myron Drive in Skyland when the animal leapt through the only window without blinds, leaving minimal fragments of glass in the frame.
“The explosion we heard was like a tree coming through the window,” Tracy Chapman said.
Andy Chapman hurried to the bedroom, but the animal was gone in less than 10 seconds.
“I had no idea there was an animal in the room,” Packard said, “It seemed like there was a train in there, it was so noisy.”
The animal knocked over most of the bedroom furniture before trying to escape through a sliding mirror, which it shattered, on a closet door. The animal exited through the window he had entered.
“The room was just turned upside down,” Tracy Chapman said.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lance Modispacher responded to the incident and said that mountain lions have never been seen so close to lake level.
“We’ve had reports of cats in Carson Valley because they feed on sheep and cattle,” Modispacher said.
Everyone at the house thought the intruding animal was a bear and were confused as to how it could have moved so quickly.
“People who have bear stories have nothing on us,” Andy Chapman said. “Bear stories are lame.”
The Chapmans were grateful that the animal did not get loose in the house where their two children could have been hurt. Six-month-old Drue was in bed with her parents, and 3-year-old Riley was in her bedroom when the incident occurred.
When Chapman boarded the window and at 9:30 a.m., he noticed one of his two dogs looking up in a tree at the mountain lion perched on its branches.
The animal had climbed 25 feet in the tree nearest to the bedroom, where he was found by wildlife officers when they arrived at 10 that morning.
Tranquilizing the animal was a challenge. Three darts were fired through thick branches before he was subdued more than seven hours later. The tranquilizer was a combination of a sedative and an analgesic.
“It minimizes pain and temporarily puts it to sleep,” said Chris Healy, public information officer for the Nevada Division of Wildlife.
A face shroud, shackles, and a radio collar were then placed on the cat.
Despite sedation, the animal awoke shortly after he was put into the truck. He broke out of the front paw shackle before officials were able to sedate him again.
The animal was treated in Gardnerville for minor cuts and lacerations, Healy said.
“We will treat (lions) and let them recover.”
The mountain lion was held Sunday night and released into the Pine Nut Mountains east of Gardnerville Monday morning.
“We’re extremely confident that we handled the situation responsibly,” Healy said.
“It’s a miracle that he’s OK and we’re OK,” Tracy Chapman said. “We hope he is going to be happy.”
The Chapmans plan to name the guest bedroom the “Mountain Lion Kay” room (MLK) in honor of their guest’s wild experience.
The animal will be a part of the Nevada Division of Wildlife’s “Urban Interface” study which tracks mountain lions and bears around Nevada. The study will research conflicts between humans and animals. There are 16 bears tagged to date, but only two mountain lions.
“This lion didn’t plan this,” Healy said. “It was probably really scared.”