Staying Safe When Facing a Mountain Lion

Staying Safe When Facing a Mountain Lion

( – The wilderness is certainly an amazing place to behold, but it can also be dangerous. Wild animals, no matter how small or how cute, can threaten our health and safety. For example, mountain lions may look like big, cuddly cats, but encounters with them can be deadly – especially for children and people traveling alone.

Avoiding Pumas

Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, live primarily in the western parts of the United States, although some reports indicate they also live in Florida. Most experts agree they’re extinct on the eastside of the Mississippi River, but sightings do still occur, often as a result of an escaped cat.

Their habitat extends through Central America and well into South America, ranging from deserts and rainforests to conifer forests. Despite having such a wide range of habitats, mountain lions are actually rare to see. Still, it’s important to be prepared to run into one just about anywhere; take the video below for instance.

When hiking or running, be sure to stay in a group and watch for trailheads indicating cougars are present. Additionally, you can look for deer or sheep tracks, as both are common prey. Also be on the lookout for cat tracks, scat and corpses. It’s vital to stay on high alert, so no earbuds or headphones.

Surviving an Attack

When confronted by a cougar, stay calm, remain facing the animal and be sure not to crouch or bend over. Never approach or run from a mountain lion. If it comes toward you, act big and intimidating; if this fails to deter the cat, start throwing objects at it or use bear spray.

If you are attacked by the predator, fight back as hard as you can, mindful to keep your neck, throat and head as protected as possible. Grab anything that can work as a weapon and use it. Be sure to report any sightings or encounters to park rangers or local authorities.

Cougars aren’t the only type of animal we face while hiking or camping — but thankfully, they’re often solitary hunters. Be sure to check out how you can avoid and survive a pack attack.

Do you have a story about encountering a wild animal that you would like to share? Reply to your email and fill us in, we would love to hear from you!

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