You wouldn’t think someone attacked by a mountain lion would live to tell the tale, but this man not only survived, he actually killed the animal — with his bare hands. The incident occurred on Monday, February 4, on the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Fort Collins, Colorado. When running along the mountain trail, the man was taken by surprise by a mountain lion.

According to an official statement, he “described hearing something behind him on the trail and was attacked by a mountain lion as he turned around to investigate. The lion lunged at the runner, biting his face and wrist. He was able to fight and break free from the lion, killing the lion in self-defense.” His wounds are described as “serious, but non-life threatening.”


When officials arrived on the scene, they found the dead juvenile lion and took it to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife animal health lab for a necropsy to determine its exact age (we already know that the lion was younger than one year old), size, and weight. The animal was tested negative for rabies.

The lion’s young age and the preparedness of the runner explain why the man was able to fight it off rather easily. Rebecca Ferrell, a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) told Outside, that the man did not have any weapons on him so he used rocks to defend himself and “he used his hands and feet to basically choke the animal.”

Mark Leslie, CPW Northeast Region manager, said, “The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of an attack, you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did.”

Mountain lion attacks on humans are rare as the cats are elusive and tend to avoid humans — Colorado has seen only 16 injuries and three fatalities since 1990 resulting from mountain lion attacks. If you do encounter a mountain lion, CPW advises you to always face the animal and back away slowly, as running may stimulate the lion’s instinct to chase and attack. They also suggest throwing stones, branches, or other debris at the animal’s eyes and nose and waving your arms slowly. Do not crouch, speak firmly, and make yourself appear bigger.

According to Larimer County DNR, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is currently closed due to additional mountain lion activity in the area.

H/T: BBC News