An 8-year-old Colorado boy was attacked by a 65-pound mountain lion — and he fought back.
“I was just punching, trying to grab anything that I can, like a stick,” Pike Carlson told local NBC station KUSA.
Pike was playing with his older brother Gage when the attack happened in his back yard in Bailey, Colo. The family lives in a rural, mountainous area but said they had never seen a mountain lion around their home before.
Gage ran into their house to get help and the boys’ father, Ron Carlson, ran out with a knife.
“That parental instinct to protect your child kind of kicks in,” Ron Carlson said. “It never even entered my head that I was about to tangle with something that could kill me. All you know is you have to do something. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, you’ve got to protect your children.”
The mountain lion had grabbed Pike by the head and dragged him under a tree. He said he picked up a stick and tried to poke the animal in the eyes with it.
The father ultimately scared the mountain lion away.
“When I first picked (Pike) up, I could see the whole side of his face was open,” Ron Carlson told KUSA. “There was blood all over him. His scalp was ripped open in several spots. It was something that no parent should ever see.”
A day after the attack, two male mountain lions were found in the area feeding on a domestic goat. Wildlife officials euthanized both animals and took DNA samples, which later confirmed one of the two had attacked Pike.
“It is reassuring to know that the mountain lion from both the attack and depredation of the goat was removed from the area,” Area Wildlife Manager Mark Lamb said in a statement. “This male juvenile mountain lion was not only a threat to human safety, but obviously to livestock and pets as well."
He added that it appeared both mountain lions were “feeding well in the area” and there was no reason to believe they would travel elsewhere out of the community.
Pike shared a few words of advice for anyone who comes across a mountain lion.