Mother Saves 5-Year-Old Son From Mountain Lion Attack

A mother saved her 5-year-old son as he was being mauled by a mountain lion while playing outside their home with his older brother. The family lives in the community of Lower Woody Creek, about 10 miles north of Aspen, Colorado.

Shortly before 8 p.m. Friday evening, the mother heard her son screaming and ran outside to their yard where she found a mountain lion attacking her 5-year-old son, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. The mother said she grabbed one of the lion’s paws and worked on prying the mountain lion’s mouth open to free her son’s head, the BBC reports.

Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Buglione said the mother “was able to physically remove her son from the mountain lion,” according to the Associated Press. The lion, believed to be about 2-years-old, ran off after the mother separated her son from the lion.

“She said the mountain lion was on top of her son, crouched down on top of him. She grabbed a paw and lifted it up, and put her right hand in its mouth to pry the boy out of its mouth so the boy could get free.”

The sheriff’s office said a 911 call was placed just before 8 p.m. Friday from the boy’s father as he drove his son to the hospital. He told the dispatcher his son had been attacked by a mountain lion.

Buglione said the son suffered deep cuts to his face, head, and neck. He was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital and then transferred to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora. The boy is in “fair condition” after the mountain lion attack, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The boy’s mother had bite marks on her hand and scratches on her leg and was taken to the Aspen Valley Hospital where she was treated for her injuries and released.

The mother’s information to sheriff’s deputies and an officer from the U.S. Forest Service lead to them finding the mountain lion, which they put down.

Witnesses said two lions were seen in the area before the 5-year-old boy was attacked, and wildlife officials said they killed a second lion several hours after killing the first lion they found at the boy’s home.

The last known mountain lion attack in Colorado took place in July of 2015, when a young lion attacked a man while he was fishing in northwest Colorado, wildlife officials said. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Jennifer Churchill said there have been two, possibly three, fatalities from mountain lion attacks in the state since 1991.

According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, mountain lion attacks on people are “rare,” with less than a dozen fatalities in North America over the last 100 years. Most attacks were by young lions. While attacks are said to be rare, the number of interactions between mountain lions and humans have increased recently due to people moving into the lions’ habitat.

With sightings of mountain lions increasing across Colorado, where an estimated 4,500 of these animals live, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website offers tips on what residents should do if they come across one. The tips include keeping away from the animal, remaining calm, and doing everything possible to appear larger. Residents are also advised to “throw stones” if the lion becomes aggressive and “fight back” if it attacks.

Comments on the internet about the mom saving her son from the mountain lion ranged from praise for the mother’s bravery and quick thinking, to concern for the lives of wild animals, with many people discussing the animals’ habitats being destroyed.

What are your thoughts about the mother who saved her son from a mountain lion attack?

[Photo by Debbie Steinhausser/Shutterstock]