Mother Wrestles with Mountain Lion to Save Her Son

A mother fought with a mountain lion as the cat was mauling her son. She prised open the cat’s jaws with her bare hands. The mountain lion was on top of her son. She had tried to pull the animal off but the cat had the boy’s head in its mouth.

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Having successfully fought off the mountain lion she scooped up her son and ran. At the same time her husband came back from a run. He jumped in the car with his son and drove them to hospital calling 911 at the same time. The boy is okay. He is in fair condition with injuries to his neck, head and face and has been transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Aspen.

The boy’s mother has scratches and a bite to her hand which are quite light injuries considering what she did. The attack took place at around 8 pm while the boy was playing in the front yard of his home with his older brother in Pitkin County, Colorado, USA.

Sadly, subsequently two mountain lions were shot by law enforcement officers from the US Forest Service. It is the policy of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department to shoot dead mountain lions involved in attacks. However, as far as I’m aware, they didn’t know for certain that either of the two mountain lions that they have shot were involved in the attack. One was seen near the site of the attack and assumed to be guilty.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement:

“The mother ran outside, saw the mountain lion on her son and was able to physically remove her son from the mountain lion.”

The last known attack in Colorado occurred in July 2015. A young mountain lion attacked a man as he was fishing in a remote area of Northwest Colorado. Over the decades, mountain attacks are rare and fatalities are even rarer. As I recall there being only 18 fatalities in over a hundred years. It is possible to frighten away a mountain lion. I have a page on how to deal with Mountain Lion attacks.

What can we learn from this story? The First thing we can learn is that it is possible to deal with a mountain lion attack without killing the mountain lion as this woman did. It is possible to beat a mountain lion in a fight. Not all mountain lions are at the top end of the weight and size scale. They can be quite retiring and shy creatures and unfortunately they sometimes wander into suburban areas because people have built settlements in what was once mountain lion territory.

I’m sad that the boy was attacked and I’m impressed by the mother who saved him. There is no certainty by the way that the boy would have been killed by the mountain lion but that does not take away from the mother’s courage. I am also sad that two mountain lions had to be shot without any firm evidence that they were involved and disappointed that it is the policy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife to shoot mountain lions if suspected of being involved in attacking people.

It is an example of mountain lions and people being drawn together when they should be apart. The reason for this is the activities of people and it has nothing to do with the mountain lion.

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6 thoughts on “Mother Wrestles with Mountain Lion to Save Her Son”

  1. I believe that I would have done the same to save my child.
    But, like every other animal involved in an incident with humans, I don’t believe that it is OK to just kill willy-nilly. There is no way to know what animal to target, not to mention that no animal should be targeted at all.
    From what I have read, this 5 y/o child was alone, after dark, when this incident occurred.
    In my Florida, so many gators are killed just to appease supposed victims. They may or may not be the perpetrators. It’s only done to calm the people. So sad.

    1. Predators are not evil. They did not choose a child because they are mean. They evaluated the prey in front of them and decided that the reward was likely greater than the risk.
      I am not happy the cats were destroyed. It is simply a grim reality.
      So many people want to live with nature then when confronted with it demand it be removed or destroyed.
      We have few issues with wildlife. At the same time if a big cat started haunting my property I would be inclined to call wildlife and have it removed or destroyed. I would of course prefer they be relocated to a wilder less populated place. I can discourage most critters. I can’t stop looking like meat walking to my car early in the morning or late at night.

  2. The issue is the cat has now attacked humans and sees them as prey. The fact that the mother had time to beat the cat off the child shows it was likely a younger cat that didn’t deliver a death bite. I don’t know the exact demographics of this area but I’m guessing rural with wildlife habitat. Just because you clear the land and make a nice lawn doesn’t make it safe.
    Wildlife that attacks humans are also routinely destroyed to check for rabies.
    I’m guessing these were young males with no territory.

  3. It’s really too bad that the human species has moved into the lands that were once pristine. I realize that people need homes and should be able to live where they want. It’s just a shame that the animals have to suffer, since they have no idea what utter and unknowing creeps a lot of humans are. I live in the Sonoran Desert and have for many years. I used to see mountain lion tracks as the cats traveled to and from their winter and summer ground. Skunks came for a visit every 3 months to see if there was anything they could eat here. Deer would bed down in the wild chamomille at night. I never fed any of them, just enjoyed their proximity every time they came through. Since this area has been built up and the city people have moved out, the animals have disappeared. I miss the interaction with God’s creatures and I sure as hell don’t think this is better! People don’t want to learn how to live with the wildlife, they don’t care to learn, just kill or remove any critter that bothers them.

    1. Susan, you and I are in harmony on the issues that you have raised in your comment. The population of America is growing fast squeezing out wildlife. In the UK we did it years ago. It is sad. It truly is. Personally I would not have killed the pumas. It is wrong to do that because they did no wrong in my book.

    2. Susan, I appreciate your comments. Until June of 2015 my son and I lived in a gated community of forest land in Northern California in the “Gold Rush” area. We had mule deer, raccoons, skunks, rabbits, black bears, bobcats, and the occasional mountain lion on our two acres. They were all there before us humans and we respected that fact.

      Now we live in a small community in Georgia, with a very small backyard bordering a small forest area. We feed an assortment of birds, and a few squirrels and chipmunks. We also keep four different fountains filled with fresh water for our critters, and they really appreciate the cool drinks. It goes without saying that our cats are indoors only, but they love watching our wild visitors through the windows and glass doors.

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