Cougars are also known as Pumas, Mountain Lions, and Panthers. These big cats live across the western United States and can be ferocious fighters. Fortunately, they seldom view humans as prey, so attacks are rare. In the US, attacks by cougars average about one every five years. Wanna play the cougar lottery?

Cougars that are starving, or juvenile cougars securing new territory can be more aggressive and more likely to attack. Cougars usually attack from behind, and typically attempt to subdue their prey with a bite to the neck.

If you encounter an aggressive cougar, be loud and assertive. Look at it, but avoid direct eye contact and avoid appearing aggressive. Make loud noises and try to appear as large as possible by waving your arms. Throw sticks or stones in its direction (but not directly at it) to scare it off. Do not run or try to play dead. Do not turn your back on it.

Bear spray. Always carry bear spray.

When hiking, families should keep the children between adults. Do you know which child gets eaten by a cougar? The child that’s running ahead of the group, while the adult yells, “Stay with the group!” The cougar hears the human calling for its young, and the cougar thinks, “Young prey separated from the herd!” And, sure enough, there is a delicious youngster running along unprotected.

But, you rarely see the cougar before it strikes. They attack from the rear. They aim for the neck and crunch the spine. The prey is immobilized, and then eaten alive. (Tell this to your children, and they will live to tell of the nightmares it caused)

Stay safe.

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