Man Escapes Cougar: ‘Dude, I Don’t Feel Like Dying Today’
When 26-year old Kyle Burgess went on a ten-mile-run up Slate Canyon in Provo, Utah, he didn’t expect a terrifying encounter with a mountain lion.
During the run, Burgess saw four cougar cubs on the trail. He took out his phone and started filming, but when the cubs’ mother entered the fray, he knew immediately he was in grave danger. For the next six minutes, he filmed the chilling moments as the mother cougar stalked his every move. (1)
Hissing, Growling, And Threatening
As Burgess slowly backed away, his eyes fixed in a steely glare with the powerful predator, he yelled a series of expletives and profanities. At one stage calling out to the animal “Come on dude, I don’t feel like dying today.”
The mountain lion continued following Kyle, hissing, growling and threatening whilst lunging towards him. He said, “You’re a (bleep) scary kitty cat.”
His adrenaline in full-flow, Burgess did everything he could think of. He knew not to run or turn his back on the cougar. He also knew to back-off slowly whilst making himself look as broad as possible.
The Puma Concolor
More commonly known as the cougar, puma, or mountain lion, puma concolor lives all across the American continents, from Alaska and Canada in the north to the southern tip of South America. Easily recognized by their white muzzle, long tail, and light brown or tan color, adults typically weigh between 90-200lbs and can measure 7-8 feet long from nose to tail. Feeding mainly on deer and elk their presence can help maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem. (2)
As solitary animals, cougars are elusive and not often seen or observed by humans. Indeed, interactions or attacks on humans are rare. From 1986-1995, 10 verified cougar attacks were reported on humans, and between 1890 to 1990, 53 cougar attacks on humans resulted in 10 deaths in the US and Canada. (3,4)
Typical displays of behavior before an attack can include:-
- Swishing tail movements
- Extended eye movement
- Snarling and growling
- Body low to the ground with pumping rear legs
Cougars can also drop silently from heights close to 60 feet and can spring forward almost 45 feet whilst running.
Kyle, from Orem, Utah recalled how absolutely “beautiful” but also how compelling and “scary” the lioness was as his eyes locked onto hers. As his heart and mind raced, his instincts kicked in to avoid attack. Burgess said he was so sure she was going to attack during some of the lunges, he squinted his eyes, bracing for pain. Luckily, he managed to grab a rock and hurl it at the cougar causing it to retreat back down the trail towards its cubs.
Now an instant hit on Instagram the video has been viewed well over 1.5 million times. (5) Some viewers criticized him whilst others admired him for his relative calm during the incident. Officials from Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources praised his actions with Scott Root, DWR’s conservation outreach manager for central Utah, saying “You did great,” “You did awesome,” but adding, people should not consider running alone on trails.
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