Boy, 8, fights off mountain lion with stick: 'I tried to get it in the eye'
An 8-year-old boy in Colorado courageously fought off a 65-pound mountain lion Wednesday night, sustaining serious injuries to his face in the process, KUSA reports.
Pike Carlson was playing with his older brother Gage in the backyard of their Bailey home — which is situated in a mountainous region — when the lion suddenly grabbed Pike by his head and dragged him under a tree. In that moment, the 8-year-old knew he had to fight back, he said.
"I was just punching, trying to grab anything that I can, like a stick," Pike recalled. "I did find a stick and I tried to get it in the eye, but, soon, the stick snapped."
During the struggle, Gage ran to the house to tell his parents what was happening. Their father, Ron, immediately ran out to rescue his younger son.
"That parental instinct to protect your child kind of kicks in," Ron told the station. "It never even entered my head that I was about to tangle with something that could kill me. All you know is you have to do something. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, you’ve got to protect your children."
By the time Ron got to Pike, the mountain lion reportedly let the child go.
"When I first picked him up, I could see the whole side of his face was open," Ron said. "There was blood all over him. His scalp was ripped open in several spots. It was something that no parent should ever see."
Pike's parents rushed him to the nearest fire station, where paramedics then took the 8-year-old to a hospital. Pike purportedly underwent two surgeries and received dozens of stitches and staples to close his wounds.
"That first night in the hospital, even though the doctors were saying it's going to be OK, I just kept flashing back to what could have happened," his mother Julie said. "What if Gage, my oldest, didn't get to him in time? What if my husband didn't get to him in time?"
In a news release, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said officers stayed at the family's residence all night, setting up a trap and using three dogs to try to locate the mountain lion. Unfortunately, the canines were unable to pick up the cat's scent.
"The kid was running and it probably triggered the lions natural response to a prey animal running," said wildlife manager Mark Lamb. "We all hope that the child will be alright, and you just hate to see this occur."
Though Pike may need another surgery to repair part of his eyelid that was injured in the attack, the boy didn't appear to be fazed by the incident.
"The mountain lion is a cheater," he told KUSA. "No one try to wrestle a mountain lion. It is a cheater."
A fundraiser on GoFundMe has since raised over $18,000 for Pike's medical expenses.
Since 1990, there have been 22 mountain lion attacks on humans in Colorado, three of which led to deaths, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife. This year, three attacks have occurred in the state so far.