As if we needed any more proof that moms are superheroes, a California mother has been declared "an absolute hero" for rescuing her 5-year-old son from a vicious mountain lion attack.
While playing outside his Los Angeles-suburb home, the boy was attacked by a 65-pound wild mountain lion, which dragged him about 45 yards across their front lawn, says Captain Patrick Foy, a spokesperson from the California department of fish and wildlife told CBSLA.
The boy's mother, who was inside the house, heard her son's screams and ran outside—then instantly began fighting off the lion with her bare hands, repeatedly punching, hitting and beating the animal to wrestle it off of her son.
She was able to rescue the boy and immediately drove him to the hospital, where he is being treated for significant injuries to his head and upper body but is in stable condition, says Foy.
"The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son's life," Foy says.
A wildlife officer was sent to the house to assess the scene, and found an aggressive lion "with its ears back and hissing" while crouching in the bushes. The officer shot and killed the lion as a public safety measure. When two other mountain lions then appeared in the yard shortly after, one tagged adult and one untagged younger cat, the officer used a non-lethal tranquilizer on the younger lion and then released the lions back into the wild unharmed.
DNA testing confirmed that the shot mountain lion was the one who had attacked the child. Authorities say it was less than 1 year old and still learning how to hunt for food.
Wild mountain lions are a common sight in many parts of California, and can often be seen around Los Angeles and its suburbs. In fact, Los Angeles is one of only two cities in the world where mountain lions freely roam—the other is Mumbai. These wild cats typically prey on deer and they generally remain elusive, but as their habitats grow smaller, more and more human attacks have started cropping up.
No one wants to imagine themselves having to fend off a predatory animal from attacking their child, but I know I'd jump into the fight bare-handed, too.