Footage recorded from a Ring doorbell camera in the northern part of Des Moines, Iowa, showed something way more chilling than an October snowstorm… That would be a mountain lion lurking through their yard.
A suburban cougar sighting like that is somewhat expected in places with well-established populations of cats like California, Washington, or Colorado, but it’s a lot more startling in a place like Iowa, where mountain lions are believed to be mostly absent.
According to the Des Moines Register, the video was taken in the middle of the night sometime last week. Though the date and location of the video have not been officially confirmed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the details are believed to be legitimate.
Most people have no idea that mountain lions can occasionally be as far deep into the midwest as Iowa.
According to Iowa DNR, there have been 33 confirmed or probable mountain lion sightings in the state over the last 20 years, but a breeding population has not been confirmed. Most of those cats are believed to be transients spreading eastbound from more established cat populations in the neighboring state of Nebraska and South Dakota.
In 2012 authorities in Iowa killed a mountain lion that was holed up in a greenhouse in Des Moines. That was the first time one of the big cats had been reported within Des Moines city limits. Since then, two more mountain lions were killed in 2017, one by a deer hunter and one by DNR officials. Those were only the 5th and 6th mountain lions ever shot in the state in recent history.
There was also a reported mountain lion sighting in Des Moines in 2019.