How to Survive a Mountain Lion Attack

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Although mountain lions are generally wary of humans, they have been known to attack on occasion. The cause is not normally known--could be due to hunger, disease, protecting their young--or various other reasons. To fend off an attack, there are certain measures to take that have been proven to work.

Things You'll Need

  • Mace or pepper spray where it can be easily reached
  • Mountain lions tend to avoid people, so if one seems to be approaching, try to give it a chance to escape.

  • Look the lion in the eye (s) if it continues to approach you.

  • Make loud noises. Showing your teeth and making growling noises may help.

  • Make yourself appear bigger by raising up your jacket or other clothing and extending or holding up your arms.

  • Stand up straight and stick out your chest.

  • Pull children close, and if possible, put a small child on your shoulders to appear larger. If there are other adults, stand close together.

  • If you feel you can retreat, back away slowly, and remember to never turn your back to the animal.

  • Use anything within reach as a weapon and try to avoid bending or kneeling to get it. Mace or pepper spray, sticks, branches, rocks, a knife. If you have a bicycle, you can hold it up as a shield.

  • Try to target an eye and jab it with your thumb (people who have done this have been successful) or use a weapon if available.

  • Yell "lion", "cougar" or something specific instead of just "help."

Tips & Warnings

  • Mountain lions can usually be found wherever there are deer, since deer are their main food source. Foothills and mountains are their most common habitat.
  • Plant deer resistant plants and shrubs around your home if you live in deer territory.
  • Remove dense vegetation and shrubbery from around your home and install outdoor lighting to make it difficult for mountain lions to approach unseen.
  • California's Department of Fish and Game receives hundreds of reports annually of mountain lions killing pets and livestock.

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  • Photo Credit Courtesy nationalgeographic.com
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