A young mountain lion was caught Friday after trying to slip into a casino in downtown Reno ahead of the breakfast rush.
Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy says the young male cat's behavior was "almost the equivalent of being a stupid teenager."
Healy says coming-of-age cougars often end up where they shouldn't after being chased out of a territory by adults.
"It fits the classic definition of a dispersal-age male looking for a place to be," Healy said, adding the drought also could have prompted the cat to enter the downtown.
Still, he acknowledged, this wasn't exactly a typical case.
"I've been here 27½ years and this one is new to me," Healy said. "We've seen mountain lions on the fringes of Reno before, but not in downtown Reno."
Guests at Harrah's reported seeing the 100-pound cat trying to walk into the casino around dawn Friday morning. When the animal couldn't negotiate the revolving door, it hid under an outdoor stage in a nearby plaza.
State wildlife officials tranquilized the roughly 2-year-old cat and plan to release it into the wild after tagging it for participation in a University of Nevada, Reno study.
No injuries were reported.
"We're lucky this turned out as positive for the mountain lion and people at the scene," Healy said. "It would have been a different story for the cat had it succeeded in getting inside Harrah's."