In fact, just this week, a 6-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion while he walked along a trail with his family in the Big Bend National Park in Texas. The cougar was obviously stalking his prey, and attacked the boy from behind. After pouncing on the youngster, the cougar grabbed the boy by the head in his jaws.
The boy's father, whipped out a pocket knife and started stabbing the mountain lion in the chest, causing the cougar to release his grip on the boy's face. Then the animal took off into the brush. The injured boy was taken to the hospital to care for his serious wounds, and received 17 stitches.
Had the father not acted quickly, the mountain lion would undoubtedly killed the boy and dragged his body off into the brush for later consumption. That's the pattern of these big cats. They stalk, they kill their prey, and then they drag away the carcass to eat later.
To survive a cougar attack:
- Never hike alone — although even this measure is not foolproof. Mountain lions generally will keep their distance from groups of people, but obviously in this case the cougar felt unthreatened and fully capable of taking down the small victim, even though the boy was walking with his parents.
- Don't wander around cougar country in the evening or night hours, because that's prime hunting time for these predators.
- If you are confronted by a big cat, don't run. That triggers their natural instinct to attack.
- Face the animal and never look away. Stand tall and hold your ground. Make yourself appear larger by holding your arms high and waving a jacket.
- Make a lot of noise to sound like something the animal doesn't want to mess with.
- If an attack ensues, fight for your life with any kind of weapon you can get your hands on — a stick to use as a club, a knife, a backpack, a walking pole, etc. Aim for the animal's eyes and face.
- Don't try to play dead, or you might actually end up dead.