Cougars and Humans
- Cougars are elusive and prefer to avoid contact with humans, so attacks on humans are very rare.
- The few cougar incidents with humans that have occurred typically involved children playing outside alone or adults who
are jogging, skiing or hiking alone.
- Cougars may confuse children for prey species because, like many small prey species, children are small, make quick, erratic
movements and have high-pitched voices.
- Most cougar incidents in Alberta involve pets. Cougars see domestic cats and dogs as easy prey. When bringing your dog
along on a hike, camping or fishing trip, keep in mind that it may attract a cougar.
- If hungry and malnourished, cougars will feed on such things as carrion or dog/cat food left in backyards, increasing
the risk of human-cougar incidents.
If you see a cougar at a distance
- Cougars grooming or periodically looking away from you may simply be resting. In this case, avoid provoking the cougar:
- Bring everyone in close and back away.
- Do not run and do not turn your back.
- Prepare to use your bear spray.
If the cougar is closer
- Cougars close and showing such behaviours as hissing, snarling, staring intensely and tracking your movements present
a threat. You must show the cougar you are not a prey animal and you are able to fight back:
- Do not run. Do not turn your back
- Make sure children and dogs stay calm. Keep them very close.
- Make yourself look big. Wave your arms, open your jacket and do not crouch down or bend over
- Use your noise deterrent and bear spray.
If the cougar makes contact
- Continue using your bear spray.
- Fight back with everything you can. Rocks, sticks or your fists should be aimed at the cougar's eyes
- If you're knocked down, get back up. Do not stop fighting.
- Never play dead with a cougar.
Updated: Apr 6, 2010