Mountain Lion Attacks Man Sleeping by River

A '90s mountain lion sighting from Trinity County, California. | Photo: Beyond the Trail [Gary]/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Mountain lion attacks are very rare, but they do happen. A 63-year-old man camping by a Yuba River tributary in Nevada County was awoken by a puma in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to the Department of Fish and Game.

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The man, who was not in a tent, told state game wardens he was bit through his sleeping bag, clothing, and hat during the attack, which lasted between 1 ½ to 2 minutes. After it stopped, the lion walked about 15 feet away and stared at him for 15 to 30 seconds before leaving, the victim said.


He then drove himself to a hospital in Grass Valley where he was released after being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities continued searching for the animal on Monday, but besides tracks and the remains of a domestic cat presumed to be killed by a mountain lion, no capture or sighting was reported.

This was the 15th confirmed mountain lion attack, six of which that were fatal, since 1890 in California. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there are an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions, known for their elusive nature, currently living in the state.

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About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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