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'Beyond lightning strike odds:' Mountain lion attacks on humans are low in Idaho

Idaho Fish and Game recommends supervising your pets when they are outside, and keeping them on leashes on the trails.

BOISE, Idaho — Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are widespread across Idaho. The animals are also quite secretive, making human encounters unusual.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said it’s “beyond lightning strike odds” for a person to be attacked by a mountain lion, but pets are a different story.

“They’re opportunistic animals and when they see an opportunity to get prey they will take it, and if it happens to be your pet there in front of them they might take that opportunity,” said IDFG spokesman Roger Phillips. “It’s key for people to really keep an eye on their pets and keep them under control on leashes.”

Phillips added pet owners should avoid letting your animals out unsupervised during early morning and late-night hours.

Mountain lion attacks on pets are unlikely this time of year in the Treasure Valley, but Fish and Game said people should take these precautions during winter months.

Typically, cougars only get territorial when protecting their killed prey. The people most at risk for this type of encounter are ranchers and hunters, Phillips said.

In the off chance you see a panther feeding, Fish and Game recommends keeping your eyes on them and slowly backing away.

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