Mountain Lion Attacks Teen With Car Trouble

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Getting a potential flat tire at 1:00 AM is a bad deal. Fighting off a mountain lion attack, while checking the tire, is horrifying. Luckily due to some quick thinking on Kendra Rutter's part she is alive to tell the tale.

The Pikes Peak Courier View has Kendra's story:

Early in the morning of Oct. 17, Reid-Rutter was driving home from a babysitting job. She stopped her car on Teller County Road 51, about 8 miles from Divide, to check her tire. At that time she reported that she was attacked from behind by a mountain lion.

Although the lion knocked her into the road, she managed to fight it off by kicking it in the head. After the lion ran away, she was able to get back into her car and drive home.

Kendra's story is a good example of why it's important to always remain situationally aware and always fight back with mountain lions.


ecoroamers's picture

Mountain Lion

I was raised in the San Luis Valley, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Mountain lions were a regular feature around there in the 60s and 70s until the population explosion occured.  If you have ever heard of Ernie Wilkerson, and Tabby the mountain lion from Monte Vista Colorado, who were good friends of our family, and or, have if you have seen the movie Couger Country in which Tabby''s cubs stared, you might know that like most wild animals they are more afraid of you than you may be of them.  Their habitats have been threatened, destroyed, and squeezed to the point that they must come in contact with humans.  Yes, she is indeed a very lucky young woman, and I am glad she is ok, because most large cats in that situation would have not given up so easily if they were indeed attacking her for food, she may not have gotten away regardless of how much she fought back. Instead, maybe the cat was just startled by her.  Sounds to me like she just got a warning swat, and a little skin trophy to go along with it for stepping into the wrong place at the right time.

CVC's picture

It sounds like you're almost

It sounds like you're almost defending the cat.  Now, i don't blame the cat because it is an animal and doesn't know right from wrong, but neither do I blame the girl or man.  Yes, we have developed in what once was the animals range, but what should we do, not expand?   If there is blame, it is those that prevent hunting to contol the populations and prevent to the degree possible dangerous game encounters with humans.

Why would the cat give her a warning swat if she was by her car checking her tire?  I am interested into hearing more about your theory why she was attacked and why she survived. 

ecoroamers's picture

No defense for either

I am not trying to defend either the cat or the girl, but it sounds to me like she may have just stumbled onto the cat.  At that time of night, on a virtually desolate road, along with the area and the terrain the cat could have been standing right beside her and she may obviously did not see it.  from the distance between the claw marks on her leg the paw would be from a pretty large cat, maybe in excess of 300 pounds, but that is just speculation.  The depth of the claws marks shows that she was moving away from the cat and it barely gat her with the tips of the claws.  As I said earlier, and you can go check it out, if that mountain lion wanted her dead she would be.

CVC's picture

i agree with you about if the

i agree with you about if the cat wanted her dead she would be dead.  No way to defend against a cat intent on killing and eating you.


hawkeye270's picture

Wow that girl is lucky. I

Wow that girl is lucky. I have spent a lot of time in that neck of the woods. I will think twice before hopping out of my truck to check the tires in the middle of the night the next time I am down there. I am glad that she had the smarts and the courage to fight back against the critter. The cat had probably sized her up and assuming that it knew that she was a human than it probably thought twice before attacking her. When it made the decision to attack her all it took was her kicking it in the face to let it know that it made the wrong choice... or to atleast make it think that it made the wrong choice. I will be visiting a couple sites along the front range within city limits that a few collored cats have been using next week for my wildlife habitat class. It should be pretty interesting.

CVC's picture

While are the cats collared

While are the cats collared in your area?  What type of data and for what purpose are they collaring the cats?  Range of terrority to see if they are within human populated areas or some other reason?  Any reaction from the people living in that area?

gatorfan's picture

Remain situationally aware?

I'm not quite sure what she was supposed to do differently in this situation.  She got out and checked on a flat tire!  I think the morale of the story is that if you fight back, you have a better chance to survive.  I'm surprised that she didn't have any injuries to the back of her neck since she had scratches on her legs and shoulders.  She is VERY lucky!

I've seen more than my share of cat tracks in the areas that I hunt but have yet to see one. One day, I'm sure I will see one and I hope when it happens, it's from afar!

CVC's picture

Yeah, I am not sure what she

Yeah, I am not sure what she could have done or what i would have done differently in the same situation.  She, like me and others, probably never dreamed that a mountain lion attacking her was even a remote possibility.  Even though they are now in kansas it is not something I think about unless I am in the woods at dark.  I might think about two legged predators while changing a tire, but certainly not the four legged types.  And if I were in a remote location I wouldn't even be thinking about the two legged types.

Still, I guess there is a lesson to be learned and that is, in areas with growing populations of big cat predators that you have to keep it in mind even when doing a simple task of changing a tire or retreiving fluffy from the back yard at night.

It could have been a different story if she didn't keep her cool.  i have seen (on tv) grown men who panicked and fared far worse in similar situations.  Fight back, but don't run.

outdoorsman121's picture


For an ivdividual to live through a moutain lion attack is crazy. One moment shes just checking a tire and the next minute shes fighting a mountain lion. Because her will to live shes alive to day.  People have to understand this doesn't happen often; and that we, as humans, built our houses and our highways in the middle of their wilderness.

CVC's picture

She is a lucky girl and she

She is a lucky girl and she survived because as you said she had the will to live and the courage to fight back.  While these type of attacks are infrequent, I think we'll see more and more of them especially in areas where the big cats are protected from hunting.  Not only does that allow the population to grow unchecked, it conveys to the cats that they are predators and we are the prey.  They lose their fear of man.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow!  Definately pays to stay

Wow!  Definately pays to stay aware.  She is one lucky girl.  I always think about what I would do if I came into contact with a lion.  I guess I would cover my throat and head, and pray.  Probably grab for his eyes or something too.  Hard to believe she was attacked while by her car too.  Huh.

Good post.

CVC's picture

The story points out that

The story points out that "Kendra's story is a good example of why it's important to always remain situationally aware and always fight back with mountain lions."  While I agree with this, I think the real moral of the story is that when animal populations grow and hunting pressure is eased there is going to be more animal-man interactions that result in attacks. 

Hunting not only manages the population size, it makes animals aware that man is a predator and should be avoided.  Without that fear, man is just prey to the animal and they will attack.  Fortunately this attack ended with only minor injuries, but it could have been worse.