14-Year-Old Girl Stalked by Mountain Lion, Ends Up Taking It on with No Weapon

A teenage girl in Reno, Nevada, survived a close call with a mountain lion by taking a textbook approach to facing down the predator.

The 14-year-old girl was walking her Great Pyrenees dog on the morning of Nov. 10 when she saw the mountain lion giving her the eye as it approached, according to KTVN.

“It happened in a neighborhood that’s pretty populated,” Ashley Sanchez, a public information officer for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said, according to Newsweek. “Mountain lions are so elusive, it’s rare to see them, let alone be approached by them.”

“We don’t know how or why this happened,” Sanchez said.

State wildlife officials said the girl, whose name was not released, followed the basic steps to scare off a mountain lion — facing the animal, throwing rocks toward it, and yelling, according to KOLO-TV.

The girl was knocked to the ground, although it was unclear if the dog helped in that process as well as the mountain lion. The mountain lion pounced on the girl and then released her before running away,

“This is extremely strange behavior from a mountain lion. Usually, these are very elusive animals, and it’s rare to see a mountain lion, let alone be approached by one,” Sanchez said.

“We suspect the mountain lion, which was emaciated, either attacked out of desperation for food, or this was practice hunting behavior for the animal based on its small size and the fact that it immediately ran away,” she said.

“We don’t know details as far as why it attacked, how, if it went after the dog first, or how she fought it off. Both, the girl, and the dog are safe, but the girl did have minor punctures on her leg,” the state Department of Wildlife said in a statement to KTVN.

According to KTVN, the girl’s leg wound appears to have come from being scratched by the claw of the mountain lion.

Sanchez said the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services was contacted to locate the mountain lion, which was later euthanized, according to Newsweek.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife offered some tips for run-ins with a mountain lion.

“If the lion is aggressive, throw stones, branches, or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may be a danger to the lion,” it wrote.

“In the rare event of an attack — ALWAYS fight back. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up!” it wrote.

“While mountain lion attacks are very rare, we live in prime mountain lion habitat here in western Nevada. We’re surrounded by abundant wildlife, including deer and small mammals. Wherever there is prey, there will be mountain lions,” Sanchez said, according to the Nevada Appeal. “We advise people to take some simple steps to deter mountain lions from their property.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.