Kelsi Butt is 4 years old, and the attack happened so fast, she thought it was a bicycle coming toward her. Instead, it was a mountain lion at her family's campsite in eastern Idaho, reports the Rexburg Standard Journal. The big cat actually grabbed Kelsi and tried to drag her away, but her parents and others in the group began yelling and moving toward the animal and scared it away. "It didn't have a good hold so it put its paws on her to get a better grip," Kelsi's mother, Kera, tells East Idaho News. Incredibly, Kelsi was largely unharmed, save for scratches and some bite and claw marks. She had to receive antibiotics and rabies shots but is otherwise fine.
The attack occurred about 9pm Friday as Kelsi and other kids were walking toward a stream. "She thought a bike was coming at her, so she started running," says Kera. The attack came hours after Kera had told the family during dinner that she thought she had just spotted a big cat. A search turned up nothing. Such attacks are rare, but when they do occur, small children are usually the targets, explains a state press release. "This family showed how vigilance and quick thinking can help avert a tragedy," it adds. Wildlife officials later killed a female mountain lion in the vicinity. (A Colorado mother can relate to Kera Butt's scare.)