What to do if you encounter a mountain lion


Mountain lion in Douglas County, Colorado. Photo credit: Amanda Applebee

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DENVER — Mountain lions are adaptable and can live on lands adjacent to urban areas  as long as they have plenty of prey to eat and places to rest and hunt.

They are primarily nocturnal and secretive creatures, so the chances of seeing a mountain lion are slight. An attack by a mountain lion is even less likely.

However people do encounter them upon occasion, even in the city.

What to do if you meet a mountain lion

If you encounter a mountain lion, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Colorado State Patrol, or your local police department or sheriff’s office.

The following safety information is from the city of Boulder.

  • When venturing into mountain lion habitat, go in groups and make plenty of noise in an effort to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. Make sure children are close to and under the supervision of adults. Teach children about mountain lions and what to do if they see one.
  • Do not approach lions. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give the lion a way to escape.
  • Stay calm if you come upon a lion. Talk to it in a firm voice in an effort to demonstrate that you are human and not its regular prey.
  • Back away slowly. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack.
  • Face the lion and make an effort to appear as large as possible. Open your jacket or lift objects to appear like a more formidable opponent. Pick up your children.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw rocks, sticks or whatever you can pick up, without turning your back to the lion or bending down.
  • If the lion would happen to attack, fight back. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. Remain standing and keep attempting to get back up if you are brought to the ground.

RELATED: How to safely live with Colorado wildlife

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