Being a school principal is hard work: by day, hundreds of noisy youngsters barrel past your office; by night, wild creatures of a different sort come to visit.  


Bob Hagin, the principal of Northwest Liberty School in Washington state, recently found himself staring down a curious cougar while working late in his office. The feline meet and greet was a first for Hagin, and he considers himself lucky to have gotten so close to North America's most iconic cat. 

"It was an amazing encounter," he wrote on the Liberty School Facebook page. "Crazy!"

Hagin first noticed the animal when he heard scratching noises coming from a nearby study lab. "I checked it out, only to see the cougar pawing at a window," he said. "Another window had a lick mark on it!"

Unsure of the mountain lion's whereabouts after the initial encounter, Hagin later took the better-safe-than-sorry approach and called his wife for a ride home rather than risking a lone walk at night. The pair then sneaked another look into the dark lab in the hope of catching a second glimpse of the wild visitor. When they turned on the lights, the cougar was staring right back at them. 

According to KOMO News, Hagin was too surprised to grab his phone in order to film the encounter, but the classroom surveillance cameras did the work for him. Eventually, the furry onlooker slinked silently into the dark without any trouble, but Hagin made sure to alert passersby of the cat's presence in the vicinity on his way home. 

Mountain lions are elusive creatures and typically steer well clear of humans (and actual attacks are very rare), but it's always best to avoid unnecessary contact with the predators.

Several other residents reported cougar sightings in the vicinity, but the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has no concerns about public safety. Northwest Liberty School is bordered by a creek, and they suspect the cougar was simply tracing the path of the water in search of food, and was unlikely to stick around for long. 

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Top header image: Pixabay