Des Moines police issued a community safety the alert this morning after a mountain lion was spotted well within the capitol city limits, in a residential area near Interstate 235 and 31st Street.

There’s a middle school within a block of that intersection and an elementary school is just beyond. The big cat was captured on video, prowling past a home’s front steps and sniffing at a recycling bin.

Police urge extreme caution, especially with children and pets.

The location is around four blocks to the west and a block north of Terrace Hill governor’s mansion.

Mountain lion spottings are rare in Des Moines, but one was shot in the back yard of  home in 2012

(Photos courtesy of Des Moines Police Department)