(NEVADA COUNTY, Calif.) — A mountain lion mauled a man inside his sleeping bag early Sunday morning, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.
The 63-year-old victim survived, and he was treated for non-life-threatening puncture wounds to his hand, back, and scalp after he drove himself to a nearby hospital, the department said.
The man – whom officials have not named — was asleep in his sleeping bag near the Yuba River in Nevada County when he woke up to “pressure on his head” at about 1 a.m., department spokesperson Patrick Foy told KXTV, ABC’s affiliate in Sacramento.
That pressure was a mountain lion’s paw.
The animal reportedly bit and clawed through the man’s sleeping bag for up to two minutes, leaving him with “severe scratches and several puncture wounds,” according to a department statement. It also bit through the man’s cap and his clothes.
Then the mountain lion stopped, walked 15 feet away to stare at the hiker, and disappeared, the hiker reported.
Wardens later brought dogs to track the animal, but they were unsuccessful. The lion left tracks and a domestic cat carcass in its wake.
This is the fifteenth mountain lion attack on a human in the state since 1890, according to department records. Of those, six have been fatal.
Records show that the last attack happened in January 2007 in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. That victim, a 70-year-old man, also survived.
“Clearly this is a very, very rare occurrence,” Foy said. “You’re more likely to be attacked by certainly a domestic dog or to be struck by lightning than you are to be attacked by a mountain lion.”
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