Attacked by a Mountain Lion, Saved by a Bear?

by John Soares on March 30, 2012

A Paradise, California man claims he was attacked by a mountain lion and saved by a mother bear, and that he played patty-cake with the bear’s cub on an earlier occasion.

Robert Biggs Claims a Mountain Lion Attack…

The story about Robert Biggs, age 69, broke in Tuesday’s Paradise Post piece:

He wrestled with the cat, striking it in the head with a rock pick. The cat screamed when it was hit with the pick, but didn’t let go, Biggs said. Before he knew it, the mother bear came from behind and pounced on the cat, tearing its grip from the backpack.

The bear and the cat battled for about 15 seconds, Biggs said, until the cat finally ran away. The bear went on its way as well. Biggs ended up with bite marks, scratches and bruises to his arm, but was otherwise uninjured.

Played Patty-Cake with a Bear Cub?

Many people, me included, have a hard time believing the story. And Biggs added another twist to the tale: he claims he once played patty-cake with the cub of the bear that saved him.

Biggs’ story has since been featured nationwide and internationally, including on Fox News and in the Huffington Post. California Fish and Game officials aren’t giving much credence to the alleged events and recently visited with Biggs to gather evidence. From a newer story in the Paradise Post:

Harry Morse, a Public Information Officer with Department of Fish and Game said in a statement the “DFG has no current plans to pursue a lion that Biggs claimed he injured with a pick during the fight.” He said a warden found no physical evidence to substantiate an attack on the clothes or any injury consistent with a lion attack. Foy said they did not find any tears in clothing but did find blood on the back pack. The department is going to test the DNA to determine if the blood belonged to the mountain lion.

 Video Interview with Robert Biggs

Here’s a video of an interview with Robert Biggs that accompanied the latest Paradise Post. He discusses the incident, the press coverage, and talking with Fish and Game officials.

April 4, 2012 Update…

A new article in the Paradise Post states that the Department of Fish and Game found no evidence of bear or lion blood or saliva on mister Biggs’s daypack, or any evidence to corroborate his story:

Macintyre said there was no indication of any lion or bear blood present on the pack and the test found that no saliva, or even a single hair was present on the backpack, and it was clean of any dirt with only one tear (less than approximately a half inch).

Macintyre told the Post when a typical mountain lion attacks a human, the front paws grab the shoulders, the back paws dig into the lower back and they bite down on the head. Had Biggs been attacked by a lion, the backpack would have more damage to it. There also would have been hair and saliva on the pack Biggs provided DFG.

Your Take

I personally have a hard time believing Mister Biggs, in large part because what he states is so unlikely. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, however — statistically unlikely events do happen. What are your thoughts?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Morton March 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Well…anything can happen. It might not be very likely, but something of the sort can be possible.
I suppose I’d have to know the guy, to know if he is credible or not.We should never simply state state “hogwash!” off the bat. Let the facts bear out first like, whose blood was on his back back?
A bear could rise to the conflict, not intending to save a human, if the ruckus was near this year’s new baby. Once conflict ended, her interest ended.
Another amazing thing is that so many people survive unscathed in the woods after they do dumb things like get friendly with bear cubs and touch them.


Jeff March 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Perhaps Mr. Biggs believes in his own mind that this happened. Perhaps Mr. Biggs likes to spin a good yarn. As long as no one is harmed, Mr. Biggs is having his moment in the sun. Good on him.

The hiking community likes story tellers. We enjoy learning the origin of the weird names we find along the trail like Rough Butt Bald and Dog Loser Knob and Greasy Prong. Whether Mr. Biggs’ story is true, it is the stuff of legend.


Richard Kitowski March 30, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I know little about the peculiarities of bears but I do know that one should keep a safe distance and for a person to approach a cub and reach out to it seems incredulous to me. I have heard that a mother bear is very protective of her young ones and for a human to make physical contact with a cub bear seems improbable. My thought is that Mr. Biggs has quite an immagination and he is getting his 15 minutes of fame because of it. Seems like something you might see in a cartoon.


Ariana Lemarr April 6, 2012 at 6:52 am

I do personally believe that whatever Mr. Biggs is telling may be true. Sometimes may such miracles happen in life. It may seem unrealistic but may be that bear had saved his life.


J.Wade June 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I am an avid outdoorsman and hunter, have spent many hours around bears watching them and filming them and I would have to say, the patty cake part of the story is pretty darn far fetched to say the least. I have sat and watched mother bears (sows) with cubs, have actually been within spitting distance of numerous cubs and I can tell you this as a truthful statement, cubs will not go near a human being in the wild, they will run, hide or climb a tree if confronted by a person and if momma is around, you will not get anywhere near those cubs. That is a fact, been there done that to many times to be told different.


John Soares June 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing your experience with bears, especially cubs. I’ve only encountered cubs a few times and they definitely didn’t want to be near me.


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