Camping in the great outdoors can be a thrilling and exhilarating experience, but it’s important to remember that we’re not the only ones sharing the wilderness. Sometimes, we may find ourselves in close proximity to wild animals, such as mountain lions. In this article, we’ll explore what to do if you find yourself face to face with a mountain lion outside your tent, and what steps you can take to prevent a dangerous encounter in the first place.
What does a mountain lion outside the tent sound like?
Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are stealthy predators that are rarely seen in the wild. They are known for their distinctive vocalizations, which include hisses, growls, and screams. These sounds can be eerie and unsettling, especially when heard in the middle of the night.
If you hear strange noises outside your tent at night, it’s important to be aware that it could be a mountain lion. It’s best to err on the side of caution and assume that the noise is coming from a mountain lion, rather than a raccoon or other small animal.
What to do if a mountain lion is outside your tent
If you suspect that a mountain lion is outside your tent, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Mountain lions are more likely to attack if they feel threatened, so it’s important to avoid making any sudden movements or loud noises. This includes not turning on a flashlight or lantern, as this can further agitate the animal.
If you have a flashlight and it’s safe to use, use it to illuminate the area outside your tent. If you can see the mountain lion, make yourself as big and as loud as possible. Stand up and raise your arms, and shout loudly to scare the animal away. Make noise with a whistle or other noisemaking device, but be sure not to sound like a prey animal.
If the mountain lion is still outside your tent, it’s best to stay inside and wait for it to leave. Keep your tent zipped up and avoid opening it for any reason. If the mountain lion does not leave, call for help, or use a whistle or other noisemaking device, to alert others nearby.
What attracts mountain lions to campgrounds?
Mountain lions are attracted to campgrounds for the same reason that other wild animals are: food. If you’re camping in an area where mountain lions are known to live, it’s important to keep a clean camp and store all food and scented items, such as toiletries, in a bear canister or other secure location. This will help to reduce the chances of a mountain lion being drawn to your campsite.
Another factor that can attract mountain lions to campgrounds is the presence of other wildlife, such as deer or raccoons. These animals can attract mountain lions to the area, so it’s important to be aware of their presence and take precautions accordingly.
Related: What To Do If A Bear Is Sniffing Around Your Tent
Will a tent protect you from a mountain lion?
A tent is not designed to protect you from a wild animal, such as a mountain lion. While a tent may provide a small measure of protection, it’s best to assume that a mountain lion can reach you inside your tent. If a mountain lion is outside your tent, it’s essential to take precautions to prevent an encounter, such as storing food securely and keeping a clean camp.
If a mountain lion does attack your tent, it’s important to remember that the tent fabric is not strong enough to withstand the animal’s claws or teeth. The best course of action is to stay calm and try to make yourself as small as possible by lying down and covering your head and neck with your arms.
If the mountain lion continues to attack, fight back with whatever you have available, such as a flashlight or a camping chair, and try to make as much noise as possible to scare it away. Remember that a mountain lion’s goal is to surprise and overpower its prey, so by being aggressive and loud, you can convince the animal that you are not an easy target. It’s also important to note that it’s very rare for mountain lions to attack humans and in most cases, they will avoid them.
Things you can do if a mountain lion is near you
If you encounter a mountain lion while on a hike or in another outdoor setting, there are several things you can do to reduce the chances of a dangerous encounter.
- First, make yourself look as big as possible. Stand tall, raise your arms and hold open your jacket or backpack. This will make you appear larger and more intimidating to the mountain lion.
- Make noise. Use a whistle, shout, or bang on pots and pans to alert the mountain lion that you are human and not prey.
- Do not run away. Running may trigger the mountain lion’s hunting instincts and it may chase you. Instead, slowly back away while maintaining eye contact with the animal.
- Do not approach the mountain lion. Give it a way to escape, and it will likely do so.
- If the mountain lion approaches you, stand your ground and make noise. Do not run, crouch down, or turn your back on the animal. Keep making noise and try to look as big and as intimidating as possible.
Conclusion – What To Do If A Mountain Lion Is Outside Your Tent
Encountering a mountain lion outside your tent can be a scary and unsettling experience, but it’s important to remember that these animals are generally shy and will avoid humans if given the chance. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can reduce the chances of a dangerous encounter and know what to do if one does occur.
Remember to keep a clean camp, store food and scented items securely, and make noise and stay calm if you do encounter a mountain lion.
It’s also important to be aware of the risks and plan accordingly when camping in mountain lion territory. Familiarize yourself with the signs of mountain lion activity, such as tracks and scat, and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your fellow campers.
Most importantly, respect the wilderness and the animals that call it home. By treating them with respect and understanding, we can all enjoy the great outdoors safely and responsibly.