Worst-Case Scenario Survival: How to Escape From a Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion

This is the first installment of our new series: Worst-Case Scenario Survival.

1. Do not run.

The animal most likely will have seen and smelled you already, and running will simply cause it to pay more attention.

2. Try to make yourself appear bigger by opening your coat wide.

The mountain lion is less likely to attack a larger animal.

3. Do not crouch down.

Hold your ground, wave your hands, and shout. Show it that you are not defenseless.

4. If you have small children with you, pick them up--do all you can to appear larger.

Children, who move quickly and have high-pitched voices, are at higher risk than adults.

5. Back away slowly or wait until the animal moves away.

Report any lion sightings to authorities as soon as possible.

6. If the lion still behaves aggressively, throw stones.

Convince the lion that you are not prey and that you may be dangerous yourself.

7. Fight back if you are attacked.

Most mountain lions are small enough that an average size human will be able to ward off an attack by fighting back aggressively. Hit the mountain lion in the head, especially around the eyes and mouth.

Use sticks, fists, or whatever is at hand. Do not curl up and play dead. Mountain lions generally leap down upon prey from above and deliver a "killing bite" to the back of the neck. 

Their technique is to break the neck and knock down the prey, likewise rushing and lunging up at the neck of the prey in order to drag the victim down while holding the neck in a crushing grip. 

Protect your neck and throat at all costs!

How to Avoid an Attack

Mountain lions, also called cougars, have been known to attack people without provocation; aggressive ones have been reported to have attacked hikers and small children--causing serious injuries.

However, most mountain lions will still avoid people. To minimize your contact with cougars in an area inhabited by them, avoid hiking alone and at dusk and dawn when mountain lions are active.


This is an excerpt from Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht's The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook.

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