Mountain Lion Killed By Runner In Colorado Was Actually A Juvenile ‘Kitten’

The necropsy indicates the animal was just 3- to 4-months-old.

Mountain lion crouching on rock.
CorinnaSt / Pixabay

The necropsy indicates the animal was just 3- to 4-months-old.

According to a necropsy report released by Colorado wildlife officials, the mountain lion that was killed by a runner after he was attacked was actually what they termed a “kitten,” meaning a juvenile animal only about a few months old, according to The Coloradoan. Trail runner Travis Kauffman was attacked by the animal while running in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, in February, and his story quickly went viral after footage of his bloodied face circulated on the internet.

While wildlife officials throughout the investigation of the incident have referred to Kauffman’s attacker as likely to be a juvenile animal and possibly rabid, officials have now released the results of the necropsy they performed on a mountain lion carcass they found in the area that is likely the same animal. The results of the necropsy showed that the animal was likely between 3- and 4-months-old, and, in fact, wasn’t rabid.

While initial reports estimated the animal’s weight at around 80 pounds, wildlife experts estimate that the animal likely weighed closer to 35 to 40 pounds when it was alive. However, the carcass on which they performed the necropsy weighed only 27 pounds, as it had been scavenged after its death.

The teeth marks on its carcass measured roughly the same size as the animal’s own teeth, leading wildlife officials to speculate that the cat’s siblings had scavenged its corpse after it died, which they say is a common behavior in big cats. Wildlife officials later trapped two other mountain lions of roughly the same age in the area, presumably the dead cat’s siblings, and relocated them to a wildlife rehabilitation facility with plans to release them in a more remote area.

Kauffman, who stands 5-feet-10-inches and weighs 150 pounds, claims the animal attacked him when he was running on a trail in Horsetooth Mountain Park outside of Fort Collins, and that it was only with an intense struggle that he was able to overcome it.

mountain lion crouching.
  Lizmeier1 / Pixabay
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“I was kind of crouched on top of it, so imagine my wrist in its mouth and then I pinned its back legs with my left knee so I wouldn’t get scratched on that end, and I was able to kind of swing my right leg around, some twister movement right there,” he said at the time.

Kauffman said he strangled the animal by stepping on its neck while he pinned it down.

The necropsy results showed that the animal had bruising and abrasions on the top of its head, as well as hemorrhage pinpoints on its trachea and larynx, indicating strangulation.