Colorado runner mauled by mountain lion choked animal to death

A Colorado runner who was attacked by a mountain lion on a running trail Monday pummeled the animal with a rock before wrestling it to the ground and choking it to death, state wildlife officials said Tuesday.

The runner’s identity has not been released but he is in his 30s, according to local media. He was treated for his injuries – including facial bite wounds and lacerations to his body – before being released Tuesday morning. He is expected to make a full recovery.

We have no reason to believe that this is a hoax.

— Rebecca Ferrell

Rebecca Ferrell, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, called the runner’s encounter with the mountain lion "crazy but true."

The victim was attacked from behind on West Ridge Trail in the Larimer County foothills during his run. The man was bitten on his face and wrist before he managed to pick up a rock and slam the animal on the head. He jumped on the animal’s back and choked it to death with his hands, arms, and feet, Ferrell said.

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Wildlife officers searched the trail where the runner said the attack occurred and found a dead mountain lion near some possessions the runner had described. The officers estimated that the animal was less than a year old and weighed about 80 pounds.

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Rangers blocked off the site on Tuesday because of the large presence of bystanders and media, The Denver Post reported. State wildlife officials are expected to release more information about the runner’s identity and details of the attack later this week. Authorities said the runner needs time to decompress and decide if he will speak out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.