PERRIS, Calif. (AP) — A homeless man was repeatedly bitten and clawed by a mountain lion at a Southern California encampment, but was expected to survive, state game wardens said Sunday.
The unidentified man, believed to be in his 50s, was camping near State Route 74 west of Perris late Saturday when he was mauled, California Department of Fish and Game Lt. Patrick Foy said.
Foy told the Riverside Press-Enterprise the man didn't know what attacked him, but puncture wounds, bite marks and cuts to his body indicate he was mauled by a big cat.
"We are about 99 percent that it was a lion," Foy said. "The conclusion is based solely on the victim's injuries and the extent of the injuries."
The man was recovering at a hospital after undergoing emergency surgery.
"He's lucky to be alive," Foy said.
The attack prompted wardens to set up traps in the area. Foy said mountain lions typically return to the scene of a kill 24 to 48 hours later so they can continue feeding.
Mountain lion attacks on humans are not common.
Since 1986, there have been 15 confirmed attacks — with three fatalities — in the state, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife records.