How to Avoid or Survive an Encounter with a Mountain Lion
also know as panther, puma, cougar, painter, and catamount


 Click for larger ''American Ghost''
  1. Don't hike, bike, or jog ALONE in lion territory
  2. Don't plan outdoor activities during the hours from dusk to dawn
  3. Avoid walking near dense growth, rock outcroppings, or under ledges
  4. Don't act afraid of a lion, if you encounter one
  5. Don't try to sooth it verbally, as this may backfire
  6. Don't bend over, crouch, or kneel
  7. Never turn your back on a lion
  8. Never, Never run from a lion
  9. If you live in potential lion territory
    1. Don't allow children to play alone outdoors or walk to or from the bus stop
    2. Don't leave pets outdoors
    3. Don't feed pets or other prey animals (such as raccoons and deer) outdoors,
      as both the food and the animals may attract lions
    4. Don't go outdoors for long periods or at the same time every day
  10. Use Independent Thinking: Don't rely on mere theories about what will cause lions to attack and eat you


 Click to Hear ''Night Screamer''
  1. Keep children and pets in sight at all times
  2. Always look up and behind you: Emulate other prey by being constantly vigilant
  3. Wear a helmet, hood, or hat whenever outdoors. Paint eyes on the back and/or top
  4. If you live in potential lion territory
    1. Install outdoor lighting so that you can see this persistent predator at night
    2. Remove all tall or dense growth on your property to eliminate hiding places,
      especially within 30 yards (over two lion bounds) of children's play areas
    3. Re-plant only non-native plants that won't hide lions or nourish prey such as deer/rabbits/raccoons
  5. If you do encounter a lion, try to give it a way out
  6. Look a lion in the eye(s)
  7. Make loud, firm noises:  You may even show your teeth and make snarling sounds
  8.  Click for larger image
  9. Make yourself look big
    1. Raise your coat, jacket, or any clothing with your arms
    2. Stand up straight, and swell your chest
    3. Children with no adult should always be in a group and should bunch together
    4. Adults pull children close to appear larger and to prevent them from running
    5. Without kneeling, pull a small child on your shoulders to appear larger
  10. You may back away slowly, if you feel you can retreat
  11. Use anything available as a weapon if the lion displays aggression
    but *generally not if you must turn your back, crouch, kneel, or bend over to get one
  12.  Defenses Parody
    1. Carry mace or pepper spray where you can easily reach it
    2. Use fists, sticks, rocks, tools, a pocket knife, a bicycle,
      whatever you can hit with, throw, and/or use as a shield
    3. Target an eye with your thumbs, fingers, or a weapon
  13. Find out for yourself where lions might be by checking multiple sources
  14. Encourage officials and others to be realistic about lions and not just "environmentally correct" about them
 Cautionary Statement

Also see:  Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada - by Thomas Jay Chester
                If You Encounter a Mountain Lion (nicely compiled, complete and concise) - by Lynn M. Johnson
             * Table for Puma Behaviors and Appropriate Human Responses - by Dr. E. Lee Fitzhugh and David P. Fjelline
                Stories from the "Special Mountain Lion Issue" of OUTDOOR CALIFORNIA magazine - SAFETY TIPS
                Mother and three children fend off mountain lion attack - Reuters/ (describes herding strategy)

Reality Checks

When they say shy, elusive, or reclusive
When they say shy away from human contact
When they say afraid of people
When they say nocturnal
When they say only attack to defend their young
When they say won't attack unless cornered
When they say won't eat humans
  You think sly, evasive, or stealthy
You think prefer to ambush their prey
You think may have been afraid of people when actively hunted
You think prefer dusk to dawn but can hunt at any time
You think must hunt to feed their young or themselves
You think will hunt when hungry, or attack when rabid
You think humans may not be preferred but are acceptable food
These incidents are just 3 of those reported in Tom Chester's Research.
See if you can find the atypical elements in each that go against accepted lion wisdom.

1988 - 25 June. Two lions chased a German couple with a small son in the Green Valley Campground area of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. They reported one large lion with a smaller one. The Game Warden found both together, and neither moved when he approached. He shot the bigger one -- an 80-pound male -- first, and the smaller one didn't move. He then shot that one, a 63-pound male. (SDUT 2/11/96, C14)

1994 - January. Three bicyclists were "menaced" by a mountain lion at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. (SDUT 12/11/94, A1)

1995 - January. A mountain lion charged Michelle Rossmiller, a 17-year-old girl, as she was unloading school books from her car at her home on Volcan Mountain, San Diego County. Lisa Rossmiller, her mother, said, She saw it coming at her, thought fast and closed the door before it reached her. It was running straight at her. (SDUT 1/28/95, B3).
 Hare Horror

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 Introduction & Table of Contents   Return to Lion Attacks Introduction and Table of Contents Defenses Parody   Are You Serious ???