How did that “dragon” get into that respectable residential neighborhood of Lakewood, California? Few cities in Southern California have a better reputation as a peaceful place for families to live and for children to play. It now appears that Lakewood is no longer so safe for small pets, at least in those backyards bordered by a storm channel. Keep your chihuahua indoors at night.
That is not to say that this particular flying creature is dangerous to humans. The eyewitness in Lakewood estimated its wingspan at about six feet (perhaps more) and it flew away from her when she used a loud voice. But there have been fewer possums in that neighborhood, at least the ones that used to run along the phone lines at night, far fewer.
But how did a ropen get into Lakewood? Looking at a satelite map, it seems that a ropen from Mexico could have come up north along the coast and flew up the channel that eventually led it to a backyard where it could hide in daylight and hunt rats and possums in the night.
In the above map, the protected channel at the lower part of the image shows where the ropen may have come to enter the storm-drainage system that allowed it to get into the residential neighborhood in Lakewood. California State University Long Beach is at the upper part of the map.
Judging from the fear it had, when it flew away from the human eyewitness who spoke in a loud voice to her dog (who had been barking loudly), the Lakewood ropen should not be directly dangerous to the human population. In fact, it could be quite useful in ridding some neighborhoods of wild rats and possums.
South of Lakewood, in Long Beach, the storm channel passes through a park, where a lake hosts water fowl. This may eventually allow the creature to eat birds that it may find there at night.
Details in her description also verified the high probability that it was an American ropen (a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur).