A man went out for a jog on Monday and came back with a horrifying story straight out of The Revenant.
Whilst running the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain in Colorado, the un-named victim heard something behind him, and turned around to investigate. Unexpectedly, a mountain lion jumped out at the runner, biting at his wrists and face, in an incredibly rare attack.
With no chance of backing away from the encounter, the man fought back, Colorado Parks and Wildlife North East Region (CPWNE) reports, and was forced to end the attack by killing his attacker by choking it.
Seriously injured but alive, he then managed to Leonardo Di Caprio himself down the trail, and drive himself to a local hospital where he received medical attention.
“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner,” Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for CPWNE said of the attack by a juvenile mountain lion. “This could have had a very different outcome,” he warned.
"After additional investigation, including examination of the lion, we have confirmed the victim's account that he was able to suffocate the animal while defending himself from the attack." CPWNE wrote on Twitter.
“The runner did everything he could to save his life," Mark Leslie, CPWNE regional manager added. "In the event of a lion attack, you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did.”
Mountain lions do not want to attack you, and will do anything to avoid confrontation. In North America, there have been fewer than 20 deaths as a result of cougar attacks in over 100 years, with only 16 injuries and three deaths in Colorado since 1990.
However, if you do come across one in the wild, the first (and most counter-intuitive) thing you should do is not run.
Stay calm, and do not approach the cougar, the National Park Service advises. Stand upright, talk calmly and firmly to it, whilst backing away slowly. Never turn your back on the lion, and do everything you can to appear larger than you are (eg raise your arms or spread open your jacket).
In the event the lion still won't leave, it's time to throw rocks or branches (whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back) in its direction. The idea is to convince it you are not prey. If that doesn't work, it's now time to fight back, as this man had to.
"Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands." the National Park Service said.