Parenting: Babies & Toddlers
Encountering a Mountain Lion ~ by Lynn M. Johnson
What to do if you encounter a mountain lion; often known as cougars, pumas or panthers, to protect yourself and your children from a fatal attack.
If you spot a mountain lion while out in the wilderness, awareness of a mountain lion's proximity to you, and its behavior, may save you from a potentially dangerous situation if you are prepared to respond appropriately.
Mountain Lion Proximity and Behavior
If you see a mountain lion:
-100 yards away or more that is unattentive to you;
-50 yards away with its ears up and attentive to you;
- Avoid rapid movements, running, loud, excited talk.
- Stay in groups; keep children with adults.
- Probability of risk is slight, provided your response is appropriate.
-less than 50 yards away, staring intensely at you, or hiding;
- Hold small children; keep older children close to an adult.
- Do not turn your back.
- Look for sticks, rocks or other weapons and keep them at hand.
- Watch the cat at all times.
- Probability of attack is slight for adults given proper response.
- Probability of attack is serious for unaccompanied children.
-intensely staring, crouching and/or creeping toward you;
- All of the above steps, plus place older children behind adults.
- Seek a safer location, or one above the lion, if available.
- Do not run.
- Appear larger. Raise arms, objects, or jackets above your head.
- Prepare to defend yourself.
- Probability of attack is substantial.
-poised to attack;
- Take all the above actions.
- Moving slowly, position trees, boulders or other large objects between yourself and the lion.
- Do not lose sight of the lion.
- Smile! Show your teeth. (A woman attacked at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park may have saved herself by baring her teeth, growling and staring the lion down as it approached her).
- Make loud, menacing sounds, like yelling and growling.
- Throw things if the lion is close enough to hit.
- Use lethal weapons if you have them.
- Pepper spray may be effective if lion is downwind and close enough.
- Probability of risk is serious if within 200 yards.
- Prepare to defend yourself in close combat
- Fight back.
- Make menacing noises.
- Keep eye contact with the cat.
- Act aggressively toward the lion.
- Use a stick to charge the lion, thrusting the stick toward its face.
- No stick? Yell loud and run toward the lion with arms high.
- Stay beyond striking distance of its paws.
>>>> Points to Remember <<<<
- ALWAYS keep children in your sight, and preferably in reach.
- Group together so you'll be less interesting as potential prey.
- Without kneeling, pull a small child up on your shoulders to appear larger, to keep the cat from herding its target from the group, and to keep the child from running.
- Gather older children closely around you.
- Do not allow children to wander far from adults.
- Instruct children to fight back if attacked.
- Instruct children not to run, crouch or turn their backs.
- The high pitched voices, rapid movements and small size of children may attract a nearby lion.
Other Dangers Lurking in the Wilderness:
- Do not feed deer, raccoons or other animals that are common lion prey.
- Do not leave pet food out where other wildlife has access to it.
- Avoid early morning, dusk and night excursions.
- Call your desitination ahead of time to inquire about lions in the area.
More Tips for Camping with Young Children:
- Babes in the Sun
- Bear Safety Tips
- Coyote Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada
(most of which were on small children)
- Florida 'Gators Menace Pets and Children
- General Bear Country Safety Tips
- Obnoxious Plants -- Poison Ivy and Nettles
- Snapping Turtle Takes Toe Off Child
- Mountain Lion Attacks On Children Since 1995
Return to Lion Attacks Introduction and Table of Contents