If there is one thing California's mountain lions have shown us, it's that they're certainly not camera shy. A family of the big cats was recently filmed enjoying some downtime in the mountains of Los Angeles, and it wasn't just each other they were playing with.

(Much camera sniffing awaits at 3:40, followed by playful growls at 4:50.)

Photographer Robert Martinez has been setting up camera traps like this one in the Los Angeles area for years, and he's honed in on some of the cats' local hangouts. The star of Martinez's clips is "Limpy", a female who got her name because of an old foot injury. 

Since her last appearance, Limpy has become the proud mother of a couple of playful kittens. Speaking with ABC-13, Martinez explains that his interest in following Limpy was sparked when he saw her call for a mate about two years ago. "I thought it might be really cool to watch the story unfold. I feel so lucky that my cameras captured such precious and intimate behaviour between a mom and her yearlings."

And the kittens seem to be enjoying Martinez's camera gadgets as well:

 "The cute little kitties tossed around my flashes, took them out of their ziploc bags, and took them away (but not too far away)," he writes on his Facebook page. 

Mountain lions (also known as cougars) like Limpy aren't the only animals to cross paths with camera traps in the Angeles National Forest. Local wildlife like foxes and coyotes also make regular cameos. Martinez hopes his videos will help to grow awareness of these elusive animals, whose habitat borders one of the biggest cities in North America. 

"I want to show the beauty in them, and show their natural behaviour in their natural habitat  undisturbed by humans," he says.


Top header image: Joseph Blowers, Flickr