The survival instinct kicked in for a northern Colorado man, who not only killed a mountain lion that attacked him as he was running in a mountain park on Monday, but then hiked out of the area, and drove himself to a hospital. "The runner did everything he could to save his life," Colorado Parks and Wildlife rep Mark Leslie says of the unnamed man, who heard a noise behind him as he ran alone on the West Ridge Trail in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Fort Collins. As the man turned, a juvenile mountain lion pounced, biting his face and wrist, reports ABC News. Suffering puncture wounds to his arms, legs, and back, the man fought off and killed the animal, whose body was found near several of the man's possessions. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, though a wildlife manager notes "this could have had a very different outcome," per CBS News.
Three people have died in mountain lion attacks in Colorado since 1990. But attacks in general are quite rare, with the last reported in the state in June 2016, per NBC News. A man who claims to have run a "couple thousand times" in the area of Monday's attack tells the Coloradoan he's never even seen a mountain lion, only carcasses of deer they've killed. "We joke about [being attacked], but maybe we shouldn't," he says. "In the event of a lion attack, you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did," says Leslie. While it's unclear how the man killed the animal, survivors "have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands successfully," according to CPW. In case of a sighting, officials say you should look big, wave your arms, and throw stones, all without turning your back on the predator. (Oregon just saw its first fatal attack.)