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Be prepared for a mountain lion attack

DENVER -- How safe are you on Colorado's mountain trails? That depends on whether you know what to do if you came face to face with a wild animal.

The mauling of two mountain bikers about 30 miles outside of Seattle has wildlife experts sending out a stern reminder, know the rules for survival before hitting the trail.

Rebecca Ferrell of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers if a wild animal approaches you don't be prepared to run, be prepared to stay, "never run from wildlife, it is near impossible for any of us to win a footrace with a lion or a bear."

She says you should summon up the nerve to face your attacker and make yourself look big and intimidating , waving your arms or stretching out your jacket, "maintain eye contact with it let it know you are there you are not prey, continue to speak in your normal tone of voice, stay as calm as possible."

Ferrell adds that you should never run toward an animal. If you can't resist the urge to run away, Ferrell warns you must back away slowly.

Wildlife experts say If there is no other option and you are trapped,, fight back. Ferrell says, "we’ve heard some people over the years say play dead, that is not the case with a bear or a mountain lion."

The FOX31 Problem Solvers asked Ferrell to rate mountain lions, bears and moose based on their threat to humans, but they are all equally dangerous.

A moose can run as fast as 35 miles per hour or knock victims to the ground where they are fatally stomped.

Wildlife experts say if you are going to hike, always carry a stick at the very least to protect yourself.

Colorado saw one fatal mountain lion attack in 1997 and several bear attacks over the past five years, but otherwise wild animal attack are rare.

For more information visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department's website.

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