H. (aka The Detective) posted his own photo of this sign online and received the following comment: “Please feed the Mountain Lion your child as sacrifice.”

Mountain Lion Warning Sign

Stick Figures v Mountain Lion - ©ingridtaylar

These panels do seem to promote some questionable strategies . . . even if the text advocates sensible human-lion interaction. Stick figures are, after all, internationally fluid symbols. In the absence of English translation, here’s what I see:

  1. First, moonwalk away from the lion.
  2. If that fails, attempt flight.
  3. Third, hand over small stick figures as a final offering to the approaching puma.

There are mountain lion warning signs on many Bay Area trails — despite the dearth of mountain lion encounters among most hikers we’ve met. Some people (ahem) — maybe a few of us who are slightly nutty from our work with wildlife — would actually like to see a mountain lion at some point. Provided we’re feeling particularly large and loud that day.

But on this day, we were more concerned about these armless, handless, footless stick people. They are always in the path of calamity. So, in an effort to learn more about stick people and their travails, Hugh and I both Googled, and simultaneously landed on, a Flickr group that celebrates (or laments) Stick Figures in Peril. Check it out.

In the meantime, here are a few excerpts from that pool, generously shared by these photographers under a Creative Commons license. It’s worth clicking through to the originals — and the full pool — for some of the Flickr comments.

Stick Figure in Peril

Photo by Noël Zia Lee - Creative Commons

stick figure in peril

Photo by suttonhoo - Creative Commons


Photo by Yersinia Pestis - Creative Commons

Close-up of Peril

Photo by Bill D'Agostino - Creative Commons

Peril on the Klein Matterhorn

Photo by Nelson Minar - Creative Commons

Stick figure in peril in Blue Mountains

Photo by Chris Freeland - Creative Commons