Any livestock in west Bakersfield can heave a sigh of relief.
A photo of what a resident believed could be a mountain lion is most definitely not one, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The animal in question is likely just a large bobcat, which are spotted more frequently in the Bakersfield area.
The giveaway is the absence of a tail, Kern County wildlife biologist Vicky Monroe said Tuesday. And while bobcats and mountain lions usually have some color variation, there are instances, like this one, where there's crossover in their coloring.
Monroe said Fish and Wildlife personnel and trappers will respond when large animals such as mountain lions or bears are found in residential areas, but not in the case of bobcats. While mountain lions will attack mule deer and even large livestock, bobcats generally go after small game like rabbits.
Monroe said they generally avoid human conduct and activity, and if one is spotted, as in the case with any wildlife, you should just leave it alone and enjoy it from afar.
Even if the animal had turned out to be a mountain lion, it wouldn't necessarily be cause for alarm. The Fish and Wildlife website says mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and attacks on humans are extremely rare.
Bakersfield police had warned residents Monday of a possible mountain lion sighting on Friday morning after a resident sent a reporter at KGET Channel 17 a photo of the animal through social media.
She said she spotted the animal at 9:30 a.m. at what she called the "River Run between Stockdale Highway and Allen Road."
NOW, take a look into the past and watch this "Hunting for bobcats" video made at The Californian in August 2006.
AND, Californian photographer Casey Christie talks about photographing bobcats in this August 2013 video.