.
News Alert
Woman Gambling Inside Livermore Casino Arrested,…

Big Black Cat Sighting Reported Along Foothill Road in Pleasanton

I did not linger or go too far under all the trees over hanging the ravine. I've got to admit, it is a little spooky when you have a big black cat on your mind.

A resident told the Contra Costa Times that she saw a feline as big as a jaguar at the on Foothill Road. It looked like a big black panther, she said.

This is not the first recorded sighting of a big black cat along the Foothill Road cooridor. There was another sighting reported in 2009 near I-580 and Foothill Road area.

There are other reports of large black cat sightings going back to the 1990s. The witness to last Thursdays sighting said the black cat was five feet long and the tail was equally as long.

I decided to go out and have a look around the area.

Monday morning, I went over to the Alviso Adobe Community Park with my binoculars and camera to have a look around. The park buildings are closed on Monday and Tuseday, according to the sign on the door.

I scanned the hillside, trees and the open field area with my binoculars for about thirty minutes and saw only six wild turkeys.

Monday afternoon, I walked up to Foothill Road after school was out and scanned the hillside and trees with my binoculars.

Tuesday morning, I went up on the Pleasanton Ridge through the Golden Eagle Way entrance with my binoculars and camera. This area of the ridge is the city of Pleasanton, .

I hiked up the Golden Eagle Trail and then the Chaparral Trail to where it intersects with the Valley View Trail and on over to the bench. There is a spectacular view of the valley from this bench.

While I hiked, I scanned the trees and the deep dark wash outs and ravines with my binoculars. And, as I walked, I looked for any indication of a cat track along the dusty trail.

A couple of hikers along the way asked what I was looking for. I explained I was looking for any sign of a cat track. I introduced myself and said that I write a blog for Pleasanton Patch and related the story of the big black cat sighting last Thursday.

There was a group of three ladies that pointed out an area where there are rattle snakes. Sure enough, there was one medium-sized rattle snake curled up in a small spiral, sunning itself on the rocks alongside the trail.

I snapped two pictures of the rattle snake soaking up the sun. Later I exported the pictures to my computer. I realized the rattle snake really blends in with the landscape. Upon cropping and other software enhancements, I was able to show the rattler more clearly in its habitat.

Wednesday morning, I went up on the ridge from the East Bay Regional Park entrance that is about 1.6 miles south of Castlewood Drive on Foothill Road toward Sunol.

This is part of the Pleasanton Ridge that I am most familiar with. I have been up on these trails many times. This is one of the more easily accessible areas for getting on to the ridge trails.

I started up the Oak Tree Trail. A little over a half a mile up the trail, I met two ladies hiking down. They asked what I was looking for. I said any signs of a cat. They told me of sighting a bobcat and a mountain lion.

They said I would have to go all the way to the top, that I would see them around the watering area. There is drinking water and a horse watering area on the Thermalito Trail, which the Oak Tree Trail intersects at the top.

I continued up the Oak Tree Trail. I took my time to scan the trees and landscape as I went. I reached the Thermalito Trail, turned right and proceeded over to the watering area.

I hung out at the watering area for twenty minutes and looked around for cat tracks. I believe I could see a larger track that had five or seven pads for each paw (or foot-or-claw).

They were obscured somewhat with human shoe tracks and blurred probably because of double track by the mountain lion. Usually the front four pads are   readily visible.

The other three pads may appear as one larger pad. Each paw will have a total of seven pads. The back three pads on each paw grow somewhat together and are difficult to distinguish separately in the wild.

There was a smaller track also. It looked like a single pad track with three very small diameter punctures in the earth in front of the paw that may be claw marks.

Mountain lions tend not to leave a claw mark. Bobcats will leave a claw mark. Lions tend to step on their front paw track with their hind paw as they move slowly and step softly. It tends to blur the initial first print.

All the tracks were obscured somewhat and overlaid with a few strands of grass. I snapped pictures of what I deemed to be cat tracks. With my binoculars, I scanned the landscape and trees for any sign of the two cats. I could not see any.

I believe the physical evidence at this site supports the two eye witness statements of a mountain lion and bobcat sighting. There is a lot of foliage in the trees and the grass is high.

I started back down the trail. The hike down was uneventful. Not even a snake crossing the trail.

After exporting the pictures to my computer, I was not able to clarify the cat tracks well enough to be useful.

Thursday morning, I entered the ridge area from the south Stoneridge Road staging area on the hill above . This is unchartered territory for me. I have never explored this area of the ridge.

The trail runs alongside a steep ravine on the rolling hill side. The ravine is over grown with numerous trees and is dark as the trees blot out the sun.

The trail is three feet wide and recently mowed along the edges. The grass is very tall all along the trail. The trail runs west initially than turns south as it nears the top of the slope.

There are no trail head markings or identifiers. There are no pamphlets available at the trail head. This must not be an East Bay Regional Park Trail. I hiked out a mile plus on the trail.

The deep dark ravine is very wide in places. I ventured down into one such area. it is dark and cool.

I did not linger or go too far under all the trees over hanging the ravine. I've got to admit, it is a little spooky when you have a big black cat on your mind.

As you start out on the trail, the steep ravine is on the left and the rolling grass hills are on the right.

There was not anything remarkable, and I hiked back to the trail head and exited the park. When I exited returning to the parking area, a city of Pleasanton service vehicle pulled in and a man got out to service the restroom area.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michael Austin November 07, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Carole, I hiked the ridge every day for a week between 580 and Sunol hoping to get a picture of what you saw. It could have been a Bob cat, they do not have much of a tail, also could have been a mountain lion with a darker coat.
Carole Manning November 07, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Hi Michael, What I saw was definitely pitch black. It was the color that drew my attention as I sat stuck in traffic.
Theresa March 26, 2013 at 04:30 AM
I saw a strange looking Black cat, it had a long body, It had a real sway Back! I saw this Cat at the Dublin Military training center! Dublin California It was Black for sure, The legs seemed short for it's long body!!
Theresa March 26, 2013 at 04:32 AM
It must travel by way of the creek?
Theresa March 26, 2013 at 04:35 AM
It Looked at me from about 20 ft, and walked away slowly into the brush!

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »