If looking for local animal celebrities, don’t just head to the hills. They’re also on Twitter.
Following news stories about animals spotted outside their woodland habitats, several beasts have taken to Twitter, including a Burbank mountain lion and a bear that until Tuesday had charmed his fans with his hide-and-go-seek tweets.
“Everyone's following me! Cops. Fish and Game. Those choppers with the bright lights. And now, all of you on Twitter. No privacy!” the bear’s Twitter doppelganger, @TheGlendaleBear, tweeted last week.
Officials tranquilized the bear Tuesday after he roamed La Crescenta streets, but that didn’t stop @TheGlendaleBear from tweeting on his behalf.
“I’ll be back,” he wrote after a run-in with authorities and a media stampede.
@BurbankMtnLion asked in response: “Going on vacation? Or to visit ‘open houses’?”
While the greater tri-city area has its share of tweeting fauna, none have garnered as much fame in Twitterdom as a common squirrel reportedly from Tehran and a cobra that escaped the Bronx Zoo.
Despite having a bigger vocabulary than @common_squirrel, the bear and mountain lion accounts still lose on the follower front. The squirrel’s bouts of “run run run run run run run run” and “dig dig” have been retweeted, or shared, more than 50 times by 60,611 followers.
After the tranquilizer incident on Tuesday, Glen Bearian’s Twitter followers almost doubled to 406 and the account got several shout outs. The mountain lion’s fan base is about a quarter that size.
@BronxZoosCobra, which seems to be obsessed with eating puppies, has 211,014 followers. Luckily, for Pop Star Cee Lo Green’s cat, @PurrfectTheCat — which has 47,396 followers — the snake isn’t hankering for puffy kitties.
“Animals rule the Internet,” said Clinton Schaff, digital director at GolinHarris, a communications agency that represents PetSmart.
According to a statement from Twitter, the company is “as amused and intrigued as the rest of us at the popularity of Twitter accounts from animals.”
Even California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan is a fan.
The number of animal accounts keep rising because they’re easy to make and social media users are copycats, said Karen North, director of USC’s Annenberg Program on Online Communities.
“Twitter is pretty anonymous,” North said. “It’s a bit harder on Facebook where you have to verify you’re a person.”
Of the local animals, the bear is the only one with a human name.
But Bearian isn’t the only local bear on Twitter. There’s also @JPL_Bear, which launched last year after an October sighting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. @JPL_Deer started out of jealousy.
“Sheesh! We work here year round and @JPL_Bear shows up for one day and it's like a big deal,” @JPL_Deer wrote in its first tweet.
Both accounts didn’t last long. The deer’s last tweet was about getting a Snuggie for Christmas. The bear signed off after apparently heading to Mars. But @JPL_MtnLion was going strong through March. It even poked a jab at his fellow feline in Burbank.
Despite the big-shot talk from the hills of La Cañada, Burbank’s mountain lion remains the vainest.
“Not every photo you see of a mountain lion is me. But if it's a really good looking one, it might be,” @BurbankMtnLion tweeted.
When asked why he started tweeting, the account holder responded via Twitter that he wanted to spread “inter-species understanding” and share his love of Burbank.
“Also, narcissism,” he said.