Top Tips For Staying Safe If You Encounter A Lion-CHECK DETAILS.


Attacks on humans are very rare, but it’s entirely possible you may meet a mountain lion during your outdoor adventures, and if you do, knowing what to do if you meet a mountain lion can go a way to helping prevent a memorable encounter becoming a mauling.

Top tips for staying safe if you encounter a mountain lion

1. Be mindful

If you’re hiking, trail running or backpacking in a known mountain-lion habitat, you should be fully focused on your surroundings at all times – don’t wear headphones or ear pods to listen to music, keep all your senses alert. You should be especially careful in the twilight of the morning and evening when cats are typically out hunting. It’s better to walk or run outside of these times if possible. Avoid going out on such trails alone, and don’t take your dog with you. (If you must take a dog, don’t let it off leash because a mountain lion will likely consider it prey and attack or chase it.) Keep small children nearby and don’t let them veer off trail.

2. Back up slowly

From the moment you see a mountain lion or kittens, you should start backing away slowly. Always face the lion without turning your back or even your head at any time. Stay calm and avoid making any sudden movements that would startle the cat. Never run away from a lion because that might stimulate the cat’s instinct to chase and attack. Let the lion think you are afraid of it (because you are!) and that it is in charge of the situation. Mountain lions will typically escort human intruders away from their young, their food cache or their den.

3. Make yourself appear big

Stand upright and make yourself as tall as possible, while backing up slowly, to make sure the cat realizes you’re bigger than it is. Raise your arms over your head, wave them from side to side to continually portray your maximum height. If you are wearing a jacket, remove it slowly and twirl it in your hands as high above your head as possible. If you are with small children, do your best to pick them up so they won’t panic or run, or put them close behind you. Avoid crouching over or squatting so the cat won’t confuse you as a four-legged creature it might consider prey.

4. Be as loud as possible

Do whatever you can to make noise to keep the mountain lion distracted and wary, but avoid whimpering or crying so you don’t sound like a defenseless or wounded animal. Say or shout anything that comes into your head. Yell profanities if it makes you feel better. Singing a song fiercely or talking slowly and loudly can disrupt and discourage the lion’s hunting instincts, while shouting and screaming loudly will help keep it slightly distracted, concerned and defensive. You can also slap your water bottle, bang a trekking pole against rocks or clap your hands in a staccato rhythm.

5. Maintain eye contact

Never take your eyes off a mountain lion. Always look directly at the animal to portray a strong, defiant demeanor, while keeping the animal engaged and defensive. Turning your head can signal that you’re fleeing and put you in greater danger because a mountain lion can lunge in a split second. By keeping your eye on the lion, you’ll be able to get a better sense of its demeanor and its next action the moment it happens. If a mountain lion turns its back on you and walks away, it usually means the threat has been minimized. Keep your eye on it as you back away until it goes completely out of sight (and then retreat in the other direction).

6. Throw something

Throwing a rock or a small broken branch at a mountain lion could scare it away, but it could anger it, too. It’s a delicate situation, but you want to avoid a physical confrontation with an animal at all costs. Avoid bending down to pick up a rock, because the cat might think you’re crouching into an attack position, or you may suddenly look like prey. If you throw something at the mountain lion, do it with purpose and aim for the area right in front of its feet to startle it. If you hit the lion in the face, it could make it panic and lunge toward you. If the mountain lion does lunge toward you, then change your tactic to throwing something directly at its face

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