WATCH: Narrow escape for runner attacked by mountain lion, suffers 20 stitches, bruises and puncture wounds
Travis Kauffman was on a long-distance run in the mountains west of Fort Collins in Colorado, USA, when he encountered a mountain lion.
This past week, the 31-year-old gave a local radio station a personal account of his life-and-death struggle. He says that he first noticed the beast when he heard footsteps in the pine needles behind him, The New York Post reports.
"I stopped and turned. In the back of my mind I always wonder if it’s something dangerous like a bear or a bobcat or a mountain lion, and in this case it was in fact a mountain lion," he told KUNC radio.
Kauffman attempted to scare off the mountain lion by putting up his arms and screaming at it but the animal charged at him and pounced.
The lion, which Kauffman estimates weighed about 35 kg, bit down on his wrist and hand, scratched his back with its front claw and gouged his thighs with its hind legs.
"There was a point when I thought I could end up there and stay there," Kauffman said.
Kauffman and the lion tumbled off the trail during the straggle, the big cat landing on its back. It was then that the 31-year-old managed to pin its hind legs down with his body, picked up a rock and started hitting at the mountain lion’s head.
But it took repeatedly stepping on the lion’s neck, suffocating it, before Kauffman could escape the deadly grip, reports USA Today reports.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said Kauffman is lucky to have survived the rare encounter, The Denver Post reports. He had to get more than 20 stitches to his face and also suffered multiple superficial contusions and puncture wounds to his neck and legs.
Kauffman told the radio station he feared for his life during the struggle, which lasted about 10 minutes.
"One of the thoughts that I was having was, ‘Well, this would be a pretty crappy way to die’."
Kauffman says he’s going straight back to the same running trail after he returns from an upcoming overseas vacation.