A man hiking in Washington recently had a very close call with a mountain lion when he decided to crawl into a cave to get a closer look. The dirt biking fan, who goes by Bartwyld, uploaded a video of his encounter to TikTok, to the dismay of others.
"Got this footage of a mountain lion when I crawled 12ft back into a cave," the man commented. It's not clear whether he knew the animal was there before entering, but as you can see in the clip below, he continued to approach as the cougar bared its teeth, and only backed off when it him a warning hiss.
Despite TikTok's disclaimer that "the actions in this video are performed by professionals or supervised by professionals", nobody should get so close to a mountain lion (also known as a cougar), especially when it's clearly agitated.
Attacks on people are rare, but the National Park Service explains that you should never approach one, and always give it a way to escape to avoid a confrontation. Trapping the animal at the back of a cave was extremely dangerous as it had no way to leave.
You should also avoid crouching or bending over, which the hiker is clearly doing in order to fit into the cave. If you look small, a cougar is more likely to think you're an easy target. Instead, try to make yourself look as big as possible by raising your arms and holding up your jacket if you have one. The idea is to convince the animal that you're a potential threat rather than prey.
You should also stay facing the animal so you can watch its movements and look out for signs that it might be attack, not turn your back looking for your belongings before retreating, as Bartwyld seems to do.
For more advice on how to stay safe, see our guide what to do if you meet a mountain lion on the trail.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).