Although cougar attacks are rare, they can be fatal.
This is a list of known or suspected fatal cougar attacks that occurred in North America by decade in chronological order. The cougar is also commonly known as mountain lion, puma, mountain cat, catamount, or panther. The sub-population in Florida, which is a population east of the Mississippi River, is known as the Florida panther. There are also documented presence of cougars in Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
At least 20 people in North America were killed by cougars between 1890 and 2011, including six in California. More than two-thirds of the Canadian fatalities occurred on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Fatal cougar attacks are extremely rare and occur much less frequently than fatal dog attacks, fatal snake bites, fatal lightning strikes, or fatal bee stings. Children are particularly vulnerable. The majority of the child victims listed here were not accompanied by adults.
As with many predators, a cougar may attack if cornered, if a fleeing human stimulates their instinct to chase, or if a person "plays dead". Standing still however may cause the cougar to consider a person easy prey. Exaggerating the threat to the animal through intense eye contact, loud shouting, and any other action to appear larger and more menacing, may make the animal retreat. Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.
Rabid cougar attacked a woman and child in Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County, California. Both victims died from rabies, not from the physical injuries. This is the only instance of a double fatality and the only instance where the victims succumbed to disease rather than the injuries sustained in the attack.
Disappeared while hiking with a group of his father's friends on the Big South Trail in Poudre Canyon, west of Fort Collins, Colorado. In June 2003, his clothing was discovered, 500 feet (150 m) up a cliff above the trail where he vanished, by hikers. Jaryd's fragmentary human remains were found with the clothing. A wildlife biologist found the damage to the clothing was consistent with mountain lion predation.