Cougar safety: What you need to know

We’re fortunate to live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia for many reasons:

-Everything is lusciously green

-We’re close to the ocean and to the mountains

The people here are pretty fantastic

-We’re not surrounded by animals that want to eat us

Honestly, compared to so many other spots on this planet we have few animals that pose a major threat to our safety (sorry, Australia, but you won’t find Sam writing about any “Travel Adventures” anytime soon!).

Of all the animals in British Columbia that we may not want to encounter bears and cougars are on the top of that list. These encounters aren’t frequent, but you still need to know how to avoid them and what to do if it does happen.

It’s SO SUPER IMPORTANT that you brush up on all of this knowledge. Knowing what to do in a situation where you’re faced with an animal could potentially save your life. Hopefully, you’ve already read up on our bear safety tips, and now here’s your chance to learn about cougar safety!

This is what you need to know about cougar safety

Be on alert

-Cougars don’t want to be seen. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t leave tracks or can’t be seen. Keep your eyes open. Check for tracks, poop, and claw marks on trees.

Cougar track
This is what a cougar track looks like. Three rounds at the bottom and four toes. Usually, their claws are retracted when they’re walking and won’t often show in a track.

-Look and listen for any movement around you. It’s good practice to be on alert when you’re out in the woods for cougars and anything else that may post a threat to you.

Practice outdoor safety

-Stay together! Don’t let your kids wander off by themselves. They are a cougar’s prey and aren’t safe on their own. Remember, it’s generally a good idea to hike with a partner or in a group, anyway. 

-If you have a dog keep them close by. While they can often sense a cougar before you can they can also attract one if they’re off leash.

-Make noise. I know, you’re chuckling a little because your kids ALWAYS make noise. It’s important to let animals know that you’re in the area before they encounter you.

If you encounter a cougar

Cougar safety: This is what you need to know!

-Stay calm.

-Try and ensure that the cougar has room to escape.

-Keep your kids and pets by your side/pick them up and try and make yourself look as big as possible. Scout out the area for rocks or sticks or anything that you can use as a weapon should you need to. *If you pick up these items try and continue to make yourself appear large. Don’t crouch too much.

-Maintain eye contact and speak to the cougar in a firm, loud voice. Bare your teeth. Make yourself look intimidating.

-Back away from the cougar. NEVER RUN. This will provoke the cougar to attack.

-If a cougar does attack use anything and everything to fight against the cougar. Bear spray, knife, rocks, sticks…anything you have in your possession that could be used to defend yourself.

Again, the chances of ever seeing a cougar aren’t high, but it’s still important that you know this information before setting off into the woods. If you want to read up some more on facts about cougars check out the Wildsafe BC website for some more great information on cougars!

Stay safe!


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