There are mountain lions in Saguaro National Park, so it’s worthwhile to be aware of your surroundings when visiting the area. However, mountain lions are extremely shy around people and your chances of seeing one are very low, especially if you’re in a group with more than one adult. Mountain lions do occasionally attack small children if no one else is around, so we recommend keeping your kids in sight at all times. There are also bobcats in Saguaro National Park, but the likelihood of one attacking you is virtually zero. Bobcats are much smaller than mountain lions and are very shy and solitary animals, especially around people.
If you do encounter a mountain lion when you’re visiting Saguaro East National Park, make sure to stay calm and avoid running away, which can activate the cougar’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand upright and hold your ground or back away slowly, facing the animal. In the vast majority of encounters, a mountain lion will attempt to escape rather than risk a confrontation with a person.
If the cougar feels trapped or is defending its cubs, it may be more aggressive. If the animal starts moving towards you, stand up straight and hold out your arms so you appear larger. Make sure you don’t crouch down, since a person lower to the ground more closely resembles a prey animal. Shouting is usually enough to scare a mountain lion away, but you can also throw stones or branches if it seems undeterred.
Actual mountain lion attacks are extremely rare. If you do have to defend yourself against a cougar, use your backpack as a shield and remain standing to protect your head or neck. Make sure to report any encounters to the park rangers, especially if there’s an actual attack since an aggressive cougar might be rabid.
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