Image: Mountain lion in garage.
Bill DeBord  /  AP
A mountain lion peers from his hiding place inside a Hesperia, Calif., family's garage Tuesday. The mountain lion was eventually sedated by California State Fish and Game biologists and released back into the wild.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 5/25/2011 10:55:32 AM ET 2011-05-25T14:55:32

A Southern California man rooting around his garage for what he thought was a raccoon or other small critter suddenly found himself face-to-face with a mountain lion.

Jesse Taylor's wife called 911 Tuesday morning after he discovered the big cat in the garage of their home in Hesperia, a Mojave Desert community about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

“I think it was in there since Sunday night,” Michelle Taylor told the Victorville Daily Press. Neighbors had seen the mountain lion roaming the area since Friday.

California Fish and Game, Hesperia Animal Control and San Bernardino County sheriff's officials tried for nearly two hours to coax the animal out of the garage. They ultimately tranquilized it and took it to the San Bernardino National Forest for release.

The lion was a young male, Fish and Game biologist Kevin Brennan told the Daily Press. At that age, many mountain lions begin to roam around on their own, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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