Could you kill a mountain lion with your bare hands?
A runner in Colorado was taking a jog when he heard something behind him, according to a press release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The man looked back — and a mountain lion pounced, the runner told officials, according to the release. That was Monday afternoon on the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.
“The lion lunged at the runner, biting his face and wrist,” Colorado wildlife officials wrote.
In fear for his life, the man began to fight back. And he didn’t have any weapons, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region confirmed on Twitter.
Mountain lions are normally shy creatures who leave humans alone, but attacks have been increasing over the last few years in some states.
The runner broke free from the mountain lion’s attack, and defended himself, “resulting in the death of the juvenile mountain lion,” the release states.
In self defense, the runner suffocated the mountain lion, according to a tweet from the department. The animal’s cause of death was determined through an “examination of the lion.”
“He was able to choke it, which is very incredible,” Rebecca Ferrell with Colorado Parks and Wildlife told McClatchy.
“The runner did everything he could to save his life,” Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region manager said, according to the release. “In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did.”
After the mountain lion versus human attack, the man “hiked himself out to safety” and took himself to a local hospital, the department said.
“The victim survived the attack and is currently undergoing medical treatment at a local hospital,” the department tweeted Monday evening.
When wildlife officers went to search the trail, they found the dead cougar within several feet of the man’s belongings, the release states.
“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner,” Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said in the release. “This could have had a very different outcome.”
If you encounter a mountain lion, here’s what Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends:
- “Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.”
- Try to seem larger, like by raising your hands up or opening your jacket.
- “If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back.”
- “Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back.”