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How to Survive a Cougar Attack

The cougar is one of nature’s finest predators, but with the right precautions, you can survive an attack.


  • Step 1: Be alert Be alert at all times, especially when in dense cover. The best way to survive a cougar attack is to avoid one in the first place.
  • Step 2: Stay in groups Stay in groups when in cougar territory. Lone individuals are much more at risk.
  • Step 3: Remain calm Remain calm if you are spotted. Panic may send the cougar into a frenzy.
  • TIP: Don’t ever try to run away—the slender, agile body of the cougar can propel it up to 35 miles per hour, far faster than an Olympic sprinter.
  • Step 4: Look big Stand up and spread your arms. Making yourself look bigger and more imposing might frighten the cat away.
  • Step 5: Maintain eye contact Maintain eye contact and do not turn your back—this may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want the cougar to get the drop on you.
  • Step 6: Back away slowly Back away slowly without letting the cougar out of your sight.
  • TIP: Do not approach or entice the cougar! While it may be exciting to see one in its natural habitat, offering food or drink or trying to get a picture with it may provoke an attack!
  • Step 7: Check for aggression Check for signs of aggression, like advancing movement, bared teeth, a fixed stare, or crouching, as if to pounce.
  • Step 8: Become more assertive Become more assertive if the cougar begins to move in on you—shout, wave, throw things, and try to get to higher ground.
  • Step 9: Fight back If she pounces, you have no choice but to fight back. Try to stay on your feet and be sure to protect your head and neck.
  • Step 10: Don’t play dead Whatever you do, don’t play dead—this will likely cause the cougar to drag you to a private area and have its way with you.
  • FACT: The cougar can jump as high as 18 feet from a sitting position.

You Will Need

  • Alertness
  • Composure

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