If you’ve ever spent time in mountain lion country, you’ve probably heard some variation of the phrase, “You don’t see them, but they see you.” The animal, also known as a cougar, is known to be stealthy. This video of mountain lions stalking hikers proves it.
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The video comes from Casey Anderson. He’s a nature filmmaker whose work has appeared on Nat Geo WILD.
In the clip, Anderson and his team are filming a family of mountain lions. The animals leave their den for a hunt, and the cameras follow. Anderson expected to see the predators approach a deer but quickly realized the mountain lions were slowly approaching a group of hikers.
Anderson says he had to decide whether or not to try and yell and warn the hikers but says they were probably too far away anyway, and screaming may have made it worse.
“In the moment, I could tell that the cat was just curious and not a danger to those people at all,” says Anderson in his video. “It was really fun to just sit back and watch that whole thing play out. That cat ended up creeping in almost ten feet from those people. And then those people hiked on, and the cat snuck out of there. To this day, those hikers have no idea this even happened to them.”
In an even more shocking twist, the same hiker was biking in the area the next day while Anderson continued filming the mountain lions. Now, on a bike, the hiker rode right past the mountain lion. The animal then crossed the road behind them, proving that mountain lions are the kings of being stealthy.
Staying Safe in Mountain Lion Country
So, how do you stay safe in cougar country, especially when it’s hard to see the predator?
Here are some tips from the U.S. Forest Service:
- Do not hike alone. Go in groups, with adults supervising children.
- Avoid dawn and dusk excursions.
- Keep children close to you. Animals seem especially drawn to children.
- Pick up small children. The mountain lion will see small children as easier prey.
- Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation, so give them a way to escape.
- Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase.
- Do not crouch down or bend over. A human standing does not resemble a mountain lion’s natural prey.
- Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
- Fight back if attacked. Mountain lions usually try to bite the head or neck; try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.