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Trail Runner Escapes Mountain Lion Attack by Suffocating It

The runner was attacked at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space in northern Colorado.

By: Kyle Frost + Save to a List

Yesterday, a mountain lion attacked a trail runner near Horsetooth Mountain Open Space in Fort Collins, CO. While mountain lions are common on the Front Range of Colorado, attacks are rare, as the animals prefer to avoid humans. Since 1990, Colorado has had 16 injuries as a result of mountain lion attacks, and only three fatalities.

The runner described hearing something behind him on the trail and was attacked by a juvenile mountain lion as he turned around to investigate. The lion lunged at the runner, biting his face and wrist. Luckily the runner was able to defend himself in an altercation that resulted in the death of the mountain lion. 

Wait. WHAT?!

It turns out, the runner actually managed to get the lion in some sort of choke hold while it was attacking him and SUFFOCATED IT TO DEATH.


Now, while this was a wild conclusion, this unfortunate event (both the attack and the death of the lion) could have just as easily turned out differently. You can read the full release by Colorado Parks and Wildlife here. Here are are a couple of things to keep in mind if you ever encounter a mountain lion in the wild.

What do do if you come across a mountain lion:

- Make yourself as large as possible. Raise your arms, use your jacket, stand close together if in a group, or put children on your shoulders.

- Make noise. Loud noises (that prey does not usually make) can help the lion realize that you are not prey.

- Act defiant, not afraid. Maintain eye contact and do not turn your back or run away.

- Slowly create space between you and the lion. Back away slowly, without turning around. You want to make sure that the lion feels that it has the space to retreat from you, without making yourself appear as prey.

- Fight back. This isn't a bear -- punch, kick, claw, use any available tool to resist the attack, while trying to protect your neck and head. Mountain lions are averse to injury (even a small injury could mean not being able to hunt and starving) , so you want them to think you're not worth the trouble.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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