Gladstone man catches possible mountain lion on backyard surveillance camera

GLADSTONE, Mo. -- Mountain lions rarely reach Missouri, but it's not unheard of. Now, a Gladstone man is convinced one is living in his neighborhood.

Steve Slocum woke up Monday morning to a surprise recording on the camera that watches his chicken coop.

"The cat comes walking this way, going right for the chicken box right there, which is sealed up, fenced off," Slocum said. "There is now way he is getting in it."

Slocum said he's seen opossums, raccoons and house cats -- but this was the biggest cat he's ever seen.

His neighbor Gina said she was taken by surprise when she saw an unusual animal roaming around the neighborhood.

"All of the sudden I see this grey cat, and it wasn't a normal sized cat," she said. "It was like yea big, and I am thinking I have never seen a cat like that in my entire life. What is that?"

"Honestly I think it is a mountain lion, but that`s why I want the conservation department to come out and check it out," Slocum said.

When he was searching the video, Slocum noticed the backyard visitor also prowling around, checking out the chicken coop Sunday morning.

"He is tall enough to get his paws on the top of the box and peek his head up. I have a video that has eyes peering around the box," the Gladstone man said.

"And then the video early Monday morning he just comes across, walking to the back of the box and then he just disappears," Slocum said.

Bill Graham with the Missouri Department of Conservation said occasionally mountain lions have wandered into Missouri, usually young males looking for territory.

He said the department has received a steady stream of people over the years who said they've seen a mountain lion. Most of the time they end up being bobcats, dogs or even house cats.

"I have heard of them being around the city but never right smack dab in the middle," he said.

"I am a little scared for the chickens, but other than that I think it is kind of cool," Slocum said.

Slocum has strategically placed a store-bought chicken in his yard, hoping whatever it is will come back so he can get another look.

The conservation department has a special mountain lion team that checks out reported sightings. They are now looking at Slocum's video and may visit the neighborhood to gather more information.