Mountain lions are large cats native to North America. They weigh between 150 and 400 pounds and stand between 4 and 6 feet tall. The average lifespan of a mountain lion is 12 years.
Mountain lions are known to stalk their prey from above. If you ever encounter one, stay calm and don’t run or scream. Mountain lions are very territorial animals and they’ll attack if provoked. They also tend to hunt at night.
You should never approach a wild animal. If you see a mountain lion, try to get away slowly and calmly. Stay alert for movement and watch for signs of aggression.
If you encounter a mountain lion, remain calm and back off slowly. In this article, we look in closer detail at what to do if a mountain lion is stalking you and how you should stay safe. Let’s jump in.
What Are Mountain Lions?
Mountain lions are the largest member of the cat family. They’re found throughout most of the United States and Canada. Their diet consists mainly of deer, rabbits, birds, rodents, and other small mammals.
They have long legs with short bodies and thick tails. Their fur ranges from dark brown to blackish-gray color. Their paws are covered in hair that helps them grip slippery surfaces.
They grow up to 5 ft tall and weigh between 150 and 400 lbs. Females typically give birth every two to three years and can produce as many as four kittens per litter.
How Dangerous Are Mountain Lions?
The danger posed by mountain lions varies depending on where you live. In some areas, there are more than 100 mountain lions per square mile. This means that there could be hundreds of mountain lions within just a few miles of your home.
In other parts of the country, however, it’s rare to find even one mountain lion. If you live in an area without any mountain lions, then you probably won’t need to worry about being attacked by one.
If you happen to stumble across a mountain lion while hiking, camping, or driving, you shouldn’t panic. Most mountain lions will not attack unless they feel threatened.
What To Do If A Mountain Lion Is Approaching You
If you encounter a mountain lion while walking through the woods, keep moving slowly. Don’t turn around or make sudden movements. Try to appear bigger by standing upright and keeping your arms raised high.
As long as you don’t provoke the mountain lion, it should leave you alone. If you notice that the mountain lion is getting too close, start backing away but don’t run.
It may follow you but it will likely stop once it realizes that it is not prey and you are not running from it.
Keep yourself aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you know which direction the mountain lion is coming from. If you hear rustling noises, crouch down immediately.
What If The Mountain Lion Is Stalking You?
Avoidance is usually your best bet, however, if you’re forced into a confrontation, make sure you know how to handle yourself, this includes if it starts stalking you.
1. Stop Running
If you are on a run, you will need to first stop running. Once you’ve stopped, you’ll want to stand still. You should also raise your hands above your head so that the mountain lion doesn’t mistake you for prey.
Running is what prey does and so you should avoid acting like prey when you see a mountain lion.
Remember how fast they can go, they can run at 30 to 40 mph speeds, and this means not even the fastest runner in the world could outrun the mountain lion.
2. Make Eye Contact
Letting them know you see them will make them think twice about attacking you. Stare them down to show that you’re not scared.
Staring at it like this will let them know you are calm in the situation and you are not to be hunted.
3. Appear Large
If you are being stalked, you should try to make yourself look like a large opponent instead of prey to the mountain lion.
This can be done by unzipping your coat and spreading it across your arms or using a branch nearby to extend your arms. Just do not avert your eyes.
4. Avoid Crouching Down
Avoid making yourself look smaller, and never allow the lion to believe you are prey or an easy target. Remember, prey is weak and you do not want to seem weak. You need to remain large and make the lion believe you can fight back.
5. Talk Firmly
A person who appears scared or panicked may make a mountain lion even more aggressive and this goes for your voice too. Talk loudly and confidently, but do not yell.
Back away slowly and calmly. Remember prey is silent and so if you start talking, it will realize you are not prey and leave you alone.
6. Throw Items At The Lion
If the lion is still threatening, start throwing things at them such as rocks, sticks, or anything you can get your hands on. At the same time, don’t lose focus on the lion and don’t make yourself seem small.
If all else fails, it’s time to fight back, and although you might get hurt in the process, at least try to fight it enough that the mountain lion realizes you aren’t worth attacking.
We hope these tips have helped you learn how to survive a mountain lion attack. We recommend that you always stay safe, hike with others and remember to keep your wits about you.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where a mountain lion is stalking you, then we suggest you keep these tips handy and if all else fails, avoid running and fight back.